ODAAT: 
one day at a time…
Saturday, 31 July 2004

Blind Alley With An Iron Age Pig
CREDIT: © Heather Simmler-Hall/RivieraWriter.com
WHERE: Scottish Highlands. WHAT: Iron Age Pig. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Iron Age Pig, Scottish Highlands © Heather Simmler HallOur research for these items often ends in a blind alley, a place Heather Simmler-Hall would no doubt refer to as a cul-de-sac. Heather, by her own description, is "Philly-born, Scottsdale-raised, Minnesota-educated", so after those USA place names, dare we hope "Mancunian-wed" really means in Manchester, England? Since 1998 she has lived in France, dividing her time between Paris and the Riviera. Tough assignments both, but someone has to take the hard jobs!

Her latest gig, using her most prized possession - a French driver's license, was behind the wheel of a bicycle adventure tour sag wagon, following the 2004 Tour de France. Her more usual métier is writing, frequently of the journalistic variety. As part of her engaging pitch for such employment, we found her sample digital picture gallery, replete with today's porcine thumbnail, taken in the Scottish Highlands.

Heather's picture neatly segues us back into research blind alleys. We were on the trail of the Iron Age Pig, but were disappointed to discover that although such a thing does exist, it is a hybrid from crossing a wild boar and a domestic Tamworth pig. Close, but no potato! It seemed fitting that in the picture the dear old sow tries to hide her embarrassment at such shortcomings behind the slats of her pen. Some of the issues in the real and imagined geographies of livestock animals are discussed in a PSYETA [Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] article in the society journal, Vol.6 No.2 1998, by Richard Yarwood and Nick Evans.

The Iron Age in Britain is generally applied to that period from 750BC to 43AD making it enticingly just pre Roman. We found a BBC reality series, filmed around Castell Henllys, which tried to recreate Iron Age life with real participants, and the Butser Ancient Farm open air laboratory. The latter charmingly fessed up to being unsure about Iron Age Pigs: "Both wild and domesticated pigs were held in high esteem by the Celts. Thousands of small bronze figurines of wild boars and pigs have been found from the Iron Age. Undoubtedly their greatest joy was in the hunting and eating of pig. The European wild boar survives and thrives, but alas not in England. In the Iron Age a domesticated version of the wild pig was kept, although we are not sure how."

Archaeozoologists may someday unravel the puzzle, but even a cursory scanning of Graeme Barker's account of the academic struggle with taphonomic biases in the faunal samples (let alone the language) shows how hard this may be. How scant might be the evidence comes from a very readable and well illustrated account of the excavation of an Iron Age well at Breckness Broch, Orkney, Scotland.

If Andy Simmonds [1][2] from Oxford Archaeology was accurately reported when speaking to the Thatcham Historical Society, "Also among the bones were pig bones: something Mr Simmonds said generally disappeared from the diet during the Iron Age, perhaps because it was taboo", then we are in deep waters. That view seems directly contradictory to the opinions of Christine Shaw at the Butser Ancient Farm. When we found ourselves checking out the postgraduate research topic to be studied at the University of Durham by Umberto Albarella, 'Zooarchaeology (Pig Domestication and Husbandry)', we knew it was time to stop.

Friday, 30 July 2004

Wildlife Photographer Of The Year
CREDITS: [web site] © Natural History Museum/Natural History Museum
[pix L.-R.] © Joonas Lahti; © Rhé Slootmaekers; © Philipp Kois; & © Liisa Widstrand.
WHERE: UK based, but international. WHAT: wildlife photography competition.
Thumbnails [1][2][3][4] pop-up source pages.
Capercaillie © Joonas LahtiFungus growing from pine cone © Rhé SlootmaekersBlack-legged kittiwake colony © Philipp KoisBrown bear sniffing the air © Liisa Widstrand
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, a joint venture between the BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum, "aims to be the world's most respected forum for wildlife photographic art, showcasing the very best images of nature and inspiring new generations of photographers to produce visionary and expressive interpretations of nature."

The competition is big, with many prizewinners, so we visited the 2003 edition, and in particular the junior awards section, to find the four entries for our thumbnail strip. Each of the photographers is the age of ten years or younger [L. to R.]:

[1] winner, Capercaillie, Joonas Lahti, Finland; [2] runner-up, Fungus growing from pine cone, Rhé Slootmaekers, Belgium; [3] specially commended, Black-legged kittiwake colony, Philipp Kois, Germany; and [4] highly commended, Brown bear sniffing the air, Liisa Widstrand, Sweden.

The prizewinners exhibition tours the UK, and is available for hire worldwide. We were unable to find a comprehensive list of overseas destinations for the travelling exhibition, although it is said to have been to thirty five countries over the years: if you do a web search, the 'BG' tacked onto the front of the competition name was for the 1989-2002 sponsor, British Gas. A 4-page BBC online article from the magazine discusses the competition, and a range of merchandise is available, including a reasonably priced 48-page illustrated brochure, and books for several portfolios.

We have no intention of second guessing the judges, or taking anything away from the worthy winners, but on this occasion our choice would have been the exactly reverse order. Still, what do we know about judging wildlife photography competitions?

Abduction By The Mothership
CREDIT: © David Newton/Daves-Lakeland-Moutains.co.uk
WHERE: Northern Fells, English Lakeland. WHAT: unusual atmospheric conditions.
MAP: Cockermouth. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Mothership Cloud © David NewtonDavid Newton's hiking site for the English Lake District has featured here in the past. Recently he has visited a number of fell [hill] tops that are tear jerkingly familiar to us from our own exploits. This cloud picture was taken on a recent tramp David made across the Northern Fells, though how he resisted a visit to the summit of Great Calva is quite beyond our ken. David says that despite appearance the cloud is not the result of a nuclear explosion and Cockermouth, a town where we formerly lived, is still safe below the cloud. I think this is what writer John H. Farr calls a mothership cloud, so maybe we can hope it has abducted a few of the mothers that we knew when we lived in that area. Brocken Spectres have been recorded nearby, and we once experienced a whole mountain vanishing during a walk in the mist, so we imagine many things are possible

Thursday, 29 July 2004

She Danced Nude To The Very End
CREDIT: © Library of Congress/Bob Hope & American Variety
WHERE: USA. WHAT: vaudeville and burlesque era.
Thumbnail pops-up larger image from source.

Sally Rand © Library of CongressThe Library of Congress presentation American Variety Stage covers the period from 1850-1920. To give some perspective to the popularity of this medium, the authors calculate that in 1909 the twenty million visitors to Coney Island, adjusted for population changes, was greater than the combined number of visitors to Disneyland and Disney World in 1989. The collection focuses on Bob Hope and American Variety, but the Variety medium also encompassed burlesque shows, and with our louche tastes we soon homed in on one of its classiest artistes, Sally Rand, a famous fan dancer who later developed an innovative act as a bubble dancer.

Sally Rand (1904-1979) was no ecdysiast, however, because as she carefully explained, she started out naked. We thought we might have to slog through acres of Google pages to bring you her story, but James R. Lowe's Dumboozle.com (The Popular Culture Excavation Site) came to our rescue with an entertaining summary. We particularly savored the mental image of Sally as a sprightly seventy year old in a miniskirt doing $1,500 per week gigs in 1974, having worked a forty week year since 1933. Salome would have benefitted from this gal's career dedication.

Lowe's piece is satisfyingly comprehensive with excellent links, but this paragraph stood implacably unexplained: 'Sally Rand' was born as Harriet Helen Gould Beck in the Ozark Mountain town of Elkton, Missouri on Easter Sunday, the 3rd of April, 1904. She was the daughter of Nettie Grove, a Pennsylvania Dutch Quaker, and Corporal William Beck, a veteran of the Spanish-American War. Teddy Roosevelt was President of the United States and there would come a time when little Helen would fall asleep in the great man's lap. When Sally met Teddy? As we write teams of researchers are scurrying around the Internet to locate information.

In a recent column, Michael Dale claimed that Sally had attracted "…more total ticket buyers than any other live performer of the 20th Century…" and went on to detail the return of burlesque to the New York entertainment scene. As a family web site we can go no further, but it is good to see that vulgar entertainment is thriving.

In 1933 Sally's act at the Chicago World's Fair Century of Progress Exposition was found to be "lewd, lascivious, and degrading to public morals". On appeal, justice was for once clear sighted and the decision was overturned by the higher court. We leave you with the (un)common wisdom of her legal champion:

"When I go to the fair, I go to see the exhibits and perhaps to enjoy a little beer. As far as I'm concerned, all these charges are just a lot of old stuff to me. Case dismissed for want of equity." Superior Judge Joseph B. David - July 19, 1933

Wednesday, 28 July 2004

Author Victim Of His Own Success
CREDIT: © Rob Gray/RobGray.com
WHERE: Winton, Queensland, Australia. WHAT: author of 'Waltzing Matilda'.
MAP: Queensland, and Winton. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Banjo Paterson © Rob GrayIn yesterday's item about Marie Lloyd we said we would introduce you to Banjo Paterson, and give you details of his shipboard meeting with 'The Queen of the Music Halls'. Firstly, let us deal with our expectation that you would recognize Banjo's best known work: surely 'Waltzing Matilda', the unofficial national anthem of Australia, must be as widely known as any song? Why not sing-along, if you are in any doubt, with this version of the tune and the lyrics. Today's thumbnail is a statue of Banjo located at the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, Queensland, which is not only near the birthplace of the famous song, but also the birthplace of the Qantas airline.

For those who prefer cut-and-dried history here is the story: in 1895 Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson visited brother and sister Bob and Christina Macpherson at the old Dagworth Station, near (100km is near in this vast country) Winton, Queensland. The previous year there had been an incident at Dagworth, part of the ongoing labor dispute between graziers and shearers, begun in 1891 as the Great Shearers Strike. Macpherson and three constables had pursued shearers who had set fire to the Dagworth woolshed, burning three hundred sheep. One of the pursued shot himself to avoid capture. Macpherson and Paterson saw a partially butchered sheep while out riding, presumably taken by a 'swagman', or itinerant worker.

Paterson put these incidents together, wrote the words, to which Christina added music derived from a tune named 'Craigielea', and 'Waltzing Matilda' was born. Like all history the truth is less clearly cut; the curious will undertake further investigation.

There are several research resources on the web: [1] Roger Clarke's page is a good starting point; [2] Warren L. 'Hambone' Ham has a journeyman site with a five part section taken from the Sydney Morning Herald, 04 February to 04 March 1939, in which Paterson tells his own story; [3] National Library of Australia has an official looking site; and [4] folk singer Dennis O'Keeffe has a commercial front end for his products, though reporting this is in no way to detract from pages about Banjo, the song history, Dagworth, and the 1894 strike.

Perhaps the focus on 'Waltzing Matilda' has done a disservice to the remainder of Paterson's rich output. Yesterday's Marie Lloyd anecdote came from 'Happy Dispatches', Paterson's recollection of various characters he met in his travels, a chapter list that includes Winston Churchill, Rudyard Kipling, and 'Hell-fire Jack', in addition to the Marie Lloyd chapter.

SETIS [Australian Studies Resources, the University of Sydney Library, Scholarly Electronic Text and Image Service] has eight downloadable Paterson texts. From Project Gutenberg four texts in various formats are available. Lastly OzLit, a project from the State Library of Victoria offers 'The Man from Snowy River & Other Verses'. The University of Newcastle (campuses at Callaghan & Ourimbah, New South Wales, Australia) has an electronic library containing comprehensive collections of work by many authors, and its WhiteWolf server resource for Paterson is useful.

Recommending an author whose work is rooted in a particular time, place, and culture, always has the potential to backfire. We share none of those dynamics that are particular to Paterson, but when he was recommended to us we began with small doses until we acclimated to the dynamics. We found the effort worthwhile: good writing transcends those limitations that condemn lesser work to obscurity.

Tuesday, 27 July 2004

Marie Lloyd Meet Banjo Paterson
CREDIT: © The Theatre Museum/PeoplePlayUK.org.uk
WHERE: Victorian London. WHAT: music hall entertainer Marie Lloyd.
Thumbnail click and text [1][2][3][4][5] links pop-up source pages.

Marie Lloyd © PeoplePlayUKToday's item has its roots in a question posed by a correspondent: "Did Marie Lloyd ever perform for Queen Victoria?". Our best answer so far is: "Unlikely!" What we do have evidence for is a shipboard meeting between Marie and Banjo Paterson; indeed Marie suggested Banjo might write a song for her (offering the catch line "They've all got their little bit o' muslin") for which the top going rate was thirty bob.

Perhaps a little background information will help you to make sense of all this, though we will skip the monetary details because the 1971 decimalization of British currency made the shilling, or 'bob', obsolete.

Marie Lloyd (1870-1922) started life as Matilda Alice Victoria Wood, appeared for six weeks in 1885 as Bella Delmare, then adopted the name by which she became famous throughout her career. Her life, both personal and professional, was not without controversy, but she had a huge following in her day as 'Our Marie'. She died only days after becoming ill on stage while singing 'Oh, Mr. Porter', and her grave is in Hampstead Cemetery. Her epitaph read:
Tired was she and she wouldn't show it.
Suffering was she and hoped we didn't know it.
But he who loved her knew, and understanding all
Prescribed long rest and gave the final call.
The PeoplePlayUK web site offers guided tours to various aspects of the Music Halls, including a feature on Marie Lloyd that expands to six [1][2][3][4][5][6] detailed sections. Today's thumbnail picture of Marie in tartan stage costume (bicycles and bloomers were autoerotic icons of the time) comes from [5] section. The song in the background for the opening will probably be familiar to persons of a certain age and cultural background. Those who have "never had their ticket punched before" may struggle to identify, let alone appreciate, the innuendo.

As for Marie and Queen Victoria, you can read about that in section [6] above. That event was in 1912, and Victoria had died in 1901, so we think it improbable there was an earlier performance. Marie played Collins's Music Hall, and Victoria is said to have visited those premises during her lifetime, but we were unable to find direct evidence of the two things being synchronous. On balance we stick with "Unlikely!".

Tomorrow we will introduce you to Banjo Paterson, and give details of that shipboard meeting. We think most readers will recognize Banjo's best known song, even if they are less familiar with the remainder of his output.

Monday, 26 July 2004

Broch & Haggis/Nuraghe & Zurette
CREDITS: © Michele Rossetti/SarNow.com
WHERE: Sardinia, Italy. WHAT: ancient Mediterranean culture.
MAP: Barumini, near Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Nuraghe, Sardinia © Please click copyright symbol in item header.One of the locations that never made the cut for our panoramas feature yesterday was Su Nuraxi di Barumini in Sardinia. We are familiar with walking in places that are labelled on the map as Tumulus, Ancient British Hill Fort, or even Ancient Broch, so Nuraghe sounded interesting.

If your computing resources were able to handle yesterday's panoramas then a visit to William Woolf's contribution on Su Nuraxi di Barumini, Barumini, Sardinia, Italy, is recommended. William's own web site features dedicated pages about this location.

Other less well endowed visitors need not feel left out of the party. The twice yearly magazine L'Isolo di Sardegna (with an excellent English version, The Island of Sardinia, but it rolls so seductively in the native tongue) has an introduction to the island's ancient cultures, plus a nuraghi feature that includes Su Nuraxi di Barumini. Exploration of the SarNow.com site, starting from the contents page, is recommended for the curious or gastronomically inclined… zurette… mmm!

Sunday, 25 July 2004

I Walked Out One Midsummer Morn
CREDITS: [image] © Martin Sammtleben; [web site] WWP/Worldwide Panorama.
Thumbnail pops-up source page. NB: destination pages link to QuickTime panoramas.

Kaldidalur 'The Cold Valley' © Martin SammtlebenThe Geography Computing Facility at the University of California Berkeley sponsored a project named World Heritage, a world wide panorama shoot on summer solstice weekend from 19-21 June 2004 involving 110 photographers in 32 countries. You may see the results of their efforts, along with some background information about the project.

We scoured the six [1][2][3][4][5][6] page participant thumbnail index looking for entries that we felt represented how we thought the project was best handled. Our preferences were for a sunrise shot, majestic ancient surroundings linked to human culture, or prehistoric landscapes unspoiled by the hand of man.

We looked at all the panoramas, then selected a short list of five, in no particular order: [A] George Kountouris, Temple of Poseidon, Peninsula of Sounion, southeast tip of Attica, Greece; [B] Rik Littlefield, Granite Mountain & Robin Lakes, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Cascade Mountains, Washington State, USA ; [C] Bo Lorentzen, Devil's Golf Course salt pan, Death Valley National Park, California, USA; [D] Martin Sammtleben, Kaldidalur 'The Cold Valley', Central Highlands, Iceland; and [E] Romuald Vareuse, 10,000 feet over Reunion Island, Indian Ocean.

Although we thought all five were superb, if we had to choose only one, it would be letter [D], because it was the genuine solstice sunrise in a wild and beautiful place. That final selection also had the added advantage of a panoramic aerial photograph with a lower tech requirement than the QuickTime panoramas.

We were delighted to find an additional panorama, [G] Tom Striewisch, Zeche Zollverein, Essen, Ruhrstadt, NRW, Germany, that complements a recent feature we did, which was in part about the same subject. An earlier spring equinox project appears on the 2003 home page.

Ian Scott-Parker writes: Like many otherwise ordinary people, I suffer from that condition where my brain becomes fixated on a phrase, song lyric, tune, action, or memory association from the past. George Costanza in the Seinfeld Show television episode The Jacket got his brain wrapped around the Master of the House song from Les Misérables. Robert Schuman was driven insane by an imagined A-note sounding repeatedly in his ear. All the while that today's item was in preparation, I had the phrase As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morn running around in my head. Then I remembered an item way back in 2002, and dug this out of the archives:
I got to thinking of great journeys in history, and how they began. I have always enjoyed the title 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morn' as though Laurie Lee had just wandered off for a stroll one fine day, and ended up fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Missing persons reports may start like that, but not great journeys.

Then I fell to thinking about Alexander the Great. I do not think that Alexander's style, unlike Bill Gates who is also otherwise known as The Richest Resident of Redmond, was to wander up to a group of soldiers and ask "Where do you want to go today?" If they didn't pause, stare, then carry on chatting, I think the feedback would have been as useful as the responses in this totally fabricated Denounce.com 'news' item, with "Ulaan Baator" my own favorite because of the isolation of MS by a hit and miss Internet service caused by the unreliable power supply.

I feel sure Alexander would have some grand scheme buried deep within his neural nets, but most probably just thundered something like "Join me in a glorious rampage, as we conquer our enemies, loot their treasures, and carry off their women." PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] has an excellent four part series 'In the Steps of Alexander', presented by Michael Wood. Alexander was not just a leader, however; he knew how to follow if the idea was presented properly.

After the fall of Persepolis the Macedonians had their usual 'Dionysian celebration' which is Greek for piss up. A courtesan named Thaïs seized the moment; I like to think it was in flagrante delicto if you get my drift, and shouted "Let's burn down the freakin' library!".

Now there was a gal who knew how to sell an idea with a punchy slogan! When he sobered up after torching the library Alexander wept in remorse at his destruction of an irreplaceable treasure of art, literature and knowledge. Later, Thaïs hooked up with Ptolemy who founded the Alexandria library, which in turn was torched by Julius Caesar.
Saturday, 24 July 2004

Chacun À Son Goût Niggle Mode On
CREDIT: © Lynn Radeka/RadekaPhotography.com
WHERE: near Grant, New Mexico, USA. WHAT: fine art photography.
Thumbnail pops-up source frame.

Pinyon Pine and Sandstone © Lynn RadekaWe sometimes come across a photographer whose work makes us wonder just where we should start. We found Lynn Radeka through his poster photography, which features work he has done for the National Parks. The cost of these is certainly very reasonable, especially if they really are duotones, in the sense of monotones printed with two shades of black ink. That someone should go this far to achieve a certain look on a $20 poster is extraordinary. Spot varnish on the image area, to give brilliance and bring out the tonal depth, is the icing on the cake. The picture in our thumbnail is entitled 'Pinyon Pine and Sandstone'.

The feature is available for viewing in Lynn's current work gallery, and was taken near Grant, New Mexico, a place we have yet to locate. After looking through the different galleries, and realizing that the site uses frames technology, which made it a bit naughty for us to target content minus the sidebar frame, we decided just to pick one image then leave you to explore on your own. Sorry to niggle, but we think frames are often just a shortcut for lazy web authors to do half a job; but then we are as fussy about what we do as Lynn is about what he does.

Friday, 23 July 2004

Dykes Swarming In The Southwest
CREDIT: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk
WHERE: South West USA. WHAT: big skies, deep canyons, and bright lights.
MAP: Kayenta and Shiprock. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Arizona Cloudscape © Peter TurnerThe American travels of Peter Turner have featured [1][2] here on earlier occasions. Peter updates his Vistas travel section as his mood and his muse dictate: the format is something of a moveable feast, but just dropping in at any point and following the previous/next links at either end of the galleries is an enjoyable way to explore.

Rigorous potty training early in life has a lasting effect, however, so we felt compelled to give you the five [1][2][3][4][5] section links that Peter uses, giving access to ten parts. Our own selection for today's thumbnail is the last picture in Peter's last update, which shows a typically vast Arizona cloudscape near Kayenta, close to Monument Valley. Our pop-up version is about 25% smaller than the original to accommodate our small screen users; the images look better at the larger size when you visit Peter.

The whole of Peter's travelog eastward from Los Angeles gives a good idea of the features of the Southwest United States, on through Death Valley, Las Vegas, and into the canyons of the Colorado Plateaus. The most famous, and spectacular, of the volcanic intrusions such as those seen in today's picture, lies eastwards just across the state line into New Mexico. Shiprock, which has given its name to the nearby town, looms over the desert floor in a way that even at a distance makes one rub ones eyes in disbelief. Close up, it looks as though it is moving across an ocean!

The geological perspective on the Navajo Lava Field in the Four Corners region is available from UND [University of North Dakota], plus more volcanos worldwide than most of us might be able to name. From the air the associated volcanic dyke swarms are arresting in low sunshine, such as in this Earthguide picture from the University of California San Diego; or in the Paul Logsdon image in the New Mexico Tech Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources virtual tour.

Thursday, 22 July 2004

Spitting Is Part Of The Metaphor
CREDIT: © AFP & VeloNews/VeloNews.com
WHERE: L'Alpe d'Huez, France. WHAT: the noble sport of bicycle racing.
MAP: L'Alpe d'Huez [FLASH: click No.16] Thumbnails [1][2] pop-up larger images.

Armstrong © AFP &VeloNews.comUllrich © AFP &VeloNews.comWe can contain ourselves no longer! Today we were impelled to bring you pictures from the Tour de France. The metaphor for life that plays out at Le Tour ran from the lows to the highs, literally and metaphorically, all in the space of forty minutes. Lance Armstrong (left) and Jan Ullrich (right) battled it out on bicycles up a mountain course against the clock. Armstrong was faster. Ullrich came second. In sporting terms it was a magnificent dead heat.

There are some people who cannot take this kind of high level competition, imagining in some deranged way that their negative attitudes bring something to the party. The commentators were in denial about the clearly audible booing. The cameras cut away quickly from obscenities painted on the road, jeering, or taunting. Race director Jean-Marie Leblanc was more circumspect as quoted in VeloNews, and acknowledged the bad behavior, which included spitting.

Nothing could spoil the triumph: not the triumph of any one individual, but of the nobility of every man who climbed that mountain. Allowing the spitters to spoil the event would be an ignominious defeat for all us, including the spitters.

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

Beatitudes Of Bicycling Endeavor
CREDIT: © Colin Martin/GreenBicycle.com
WHERE: Australia, USA, & France. WHAT: bicycling gods.
MAP: Villard-de-Lans [FLASH: click No.15] Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

We Have Come A Long Way © Colin MartinColin Martin rides a bicycle. This prosaic statement is a bit like saying "Lance Armstrong rides a bicycle". Anyone who watched Lance win yesterday's stage [picture courtesy of ace lensman Graham Watson] at Villard-de-Lans (shurely shum mishtake? perhaps they will respell it at a later date!) will have seen poetic bicycle riding at its most profound and inspiring, though not if they were one of the vanquished competitors floundering in Lance's wake.

Lance rides a machine appropriate to the task in hand, a Trek Madone in many cases. Although this is supposedly named from an Italian source word, we remain convinced it is really named Mad One from the Greek concept of divine insanity. Machinery can be poetic too. None more so than Moulton bicycles. Somewhat mad too, but in a divine way also. These are iambic pentameters machined from steel and aluminium. If Shakespeare had been a bicycle builder his name would have been Alex not William, and he would have lived in Bradford on Avon not Stratford on Avon.

Colin hails from Trinity Beach, Cairns, Queensland, Australia. He travelled there from England in 1970 by Moulton bicycle. In 2002 he rode across America, then published his diary and a picture gallery. Colin and Lance, we salute you. May the gods of elegant locomotion bless your endeavors. Lance, may all your jerseys be yellow. Colin, may your bicycle always be green.

Tuesday, 20 July 2004

Historical Land Of Enchantment
CREDIT: © Sacramento Mountains Historical Museum/SMHM
WHERE: Cloudcroft, New Mexico, USA. WHAT: historical photo archive.
MAP: NM / roadmap [PDF] / Cloudcroft. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.

Desperados © Sacramento Mountains Historical Museum on MountainTimes.netThe Sacramento Mountains in southeast New Mexico, USA, are said to be an enchanted place in the state that calls itself The Land of Enchantment. The local newspaper is the Mountain Times, operating out of Timberon: back issues in PDF format are free to read, but avoid the June 2004 issue, one link downloads it as the July 2004 issue; both are password protected as the current issue for subscribers only.

Nearby, in Cloudcroft, NM, is the SMHM [Sacramento Mountains Historical Museum] whose web presence is hosted by the Mountain Times Network. The museum has an online old photo collection, with almost three hundred entries. We chose a mean looking bunch of desperados, but there are sweet young things, locomotives & railways, and logging camps. There is even a scowling appearance by Geronimo! The local [1] history [2] wildlife, and [3] photo pages are worth a visit, with much to explore.

Monday, 19 July 2004

Deconstructed Oslo Lady In Red
CREDIT: © Jack R. Johanson/TrekEarth.com
WHERE: Oslo Castle, Norway. WHAT: experimental photo manipulation.
MAP: Oslo. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Lady In Red © Jack R. JohansonLong ago and far away, before everybody just knew innately how to take photographs, the film cartons came with instructions. Your Uncle Sid let you take a picture occasionally, accompanied by a stern, "Now remember to have the sun coming over your shoulder! Nowadays, of course, none of this is necessary, and we are all free to blaze away digitally with the camera pointed into the sun. That technique is named contre-jour [against the day], and serious photographers took years to master what everyone just does without a second thought. Their pictures came out, and ours are failures, but what the hey, that is progress and there are no film costs now, right? Old timers offered other simple advice on matters such as composition, and suggestions like including a figure to give scale, or a brightly dressed figure to draw the eye into the picture.

Where were we going with this? Oh yes, brightly dressed figures… Jack R. Johanson took today's featured picture at the first concert to be arranged in front of the castle in Oslo, Norway. Interesting deconstruction of a number of techniques, which is a great way to learn. Just do not get us started on the abandonment of the apprentice system. If you are reminded of something, check out the comments: enjoy shifting unreality when we confirm that Miss World 2003 was correctly reported.

Sunday, 18 July 2004

Quiet Christmas In Niagara Falls
CREDIT: © Nathan W. Perry/EmpireStateRoads.com
WHERE: Niagara Falls, New York, USA WHAT: interstate I-90 interchange.
MAP: Niagara Falls. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

I-90 Interchange, Niagara Falls © Nathan W. PerryRecently we stumbled across the work of Jürgen Koslowski when following some 'LaSalle' research. Happenstance is one of the joys of research, though we do find ourselves in some odd places; sometimes in very unusual company. Yes, that kind of site occasionally, too, though not by choice. The web is such a wonderfully diverse place, and today we visit yet one more research cul-de-sac, or rather a gigantic road traffic interchange in this case. To WetRoads.co.uk, another eccentric favorite of ours, we now add EmpireStateRoads.com - a web site dedicated to the highways of the State of New York.

One of the site's special features is Interchange of the Week. Our thumbnail choice was from Week 13: I-190, LaSalle Arterial & Robert Moses Parkway, Niagara Falls. Christmas Day 2000, and all was quiet on the interchange, not all that surprisingly. From here I-90 heads north, before the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge turns westward into Canada: check out the map link in this item's header for picture links to the three bridges around Niagara Falls, which link the United States and Canada.

Saturday, 17 July 2004

No Escape Route By Tree Climbing
CREDIT: © Steve Nelson & Zovtaigi/NationalGeographic.com
WHERE: Siberia. WHAT: endangered Amur (Siberian) tigers & leopards.
MAP: Siberia. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Amur (Siberian) Tiger © Steve Nelson & ZovtaigiWe are somewhat miffed. Our computing platform of choice is elegant, powerful, and as comfortable as an old slipper. Our hardware and software are both comprehensive and up to date. Every now and again we run into some blinkered, platform centric web resource that without good reason denies us service. Imagine a gasoline company that supplied its fuel to work only in specific models of automobile, from specific manufacturers. This is not like supplying unleaded fuel that only runs in later model cars that are capable of using that formulation, because in this case it is more like the supplier is making fuel that will not work in the very latest cars from Rolls-Royce. Discrimination comes in many forms.

When the digital supplier is a world class organization like National Geographic then things have hit a low. We surfed into the otherwise excellent [1] WildWorld, then selected the [2] 'Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World' link.

Our reward was to be dumped on a screen that tartly announced "Your Browser is not supported. The Following Browsers are supported: Netscape 4; Netscape 6; Internet Explorer 4; Internet Explorer 5; Internet Explorer 5.5; Internet Explorer 6. Please download one of these free browsers and try again." We noted the strange capitalization, but decided this was probably consistent with the impaired judgement represented by other decisions being made about this resource. We have all of these browsers installed, and it does not work on any of them, at least not on our chosen computing platform. See what we mean by discrimination?

Minorities suffering discrimination do learn to work within or around the barriers erected against them. We told our browser to report itself as one of the listed browsers from The Darkside computing platform, as it has become known among the more discerning. We were not able to operate the mouse dragable map that appeared, but have these people never heard of clickable image maps that work cross platform? Most disappointing of all, no alternative link was made available.

Where does all this ballyhoo lead? To a list of terrestrial profiles that is viewable in all our browsers that were at first denied access. Does it come any more obtuse than this? National Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund in partnership with Ford Motor Company sent WildWorld maps to every school in the United States. Pre UK monetary decimalization this sort of thing used to be called 'spoiling the ship for a ha'p'orth [halfpennyworth] of tar'. It is not a good tactic even in new money.

Venting over, and the sun having sunk below the yardarm, we relaxed with a therapeutic noggin of grog while enjoying the show. Next port of call was the PALEARCTIC section. Ahhhh! At last we arrived at the Ussuri Broadleaf and Mixed Forests page, home of the Siberian tiger. Clicking on More Photos led us to just that, including the tree climbing tiger in today's featured picture.

These animals are an endangered species. An Anglo-Russian charity named AMUR (celebrity patrons: Sir Roderic Lyne [1][2], British Ambassador to the Russian Federation; and Ilya Lagutenko, lead singer of pop group Mumiy Troll) is working with some heavyweight commercial sponsors to protect Russian Amur (Siberian) tigers and leopards. Learn more about big cats at the [1][2] Cat-Domain.com site.

The cause is also supported by PLUs [People Like Us], such as Michael Sayles & Aimie Wright through their Lakelandscapes.com web site with four [1] [2] [3] [4] galleries that contain fine art pictures of the English Lake District: for sales during July 2004 Lakelandscapes.com will donate 20% of proceeds directly to AMUR.

Father and son team Michael & Philip Sayles also completed a sponsored hike, without transport assistance, of all fifty six Lakeland fells [hills] over 2,500 feet of altitude, to raise money for the AMUR appeal to protect the big cats.

Friday, July 16 2004

Ugly Beauty Of Industrial Decay
CREDIT: © Jürgen Koslowski/Personal Pages
WHERE: Liège, Belgium, & Essen with Dortmund in Germany. WHAT: industry.
MAP: rivers Meuse & Ruhr industrial areas. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Broken Window © Jürgen KoslowskiJürgen Koslowski seems to share our own taste for industrial decay, at least photographically speaking. He has five galleries, two for [1][2] Zollverein Essen with Phoenix Dortmund taken in November 2001, and three for [3][4][5] Liege, taken in September 2003. For further investigation of what is meant by 'former smokestack industries' we have provided links for [1]  Zollverein, [2] Phoenix, and [3] Liège.

We saw this other side of Jürgen's work when checking out his picture of the LaSalle Mountains in Utah. We hope to take the connection a little further in a future item.

Thursday, 15 July 2004

Grog, Gambling, And Dance Halls
CREDIT: © Majed Anani/Go-Utah.com
WHERE: Kanab, Utah. WHAT: touring center for south central Utah.
MAP: Kanab. Thumbnail pops-up source photo page.

Lizard on the Wave © Majed AnaniIn his book Canyon Voyage, Frederick Dellenbaugh, a member of the John Wesley Powell survey expedition, wrote from the 1871-73 headquarters:

"The village which had been started only a year or two was laid out in the characteristic Mormon style, with wide streets and regular lots, fenced by wattling willows between stakes. Irrigation ditches ran down each side of every street. The entire settlement had a thrifty air as is the case with the Mormons. Not a grog-shop or gambling saloon, or dance hall was to be seen; ordinarily the usual disgraceful accompaniments of the frontier town."

By 1922 Tom Mix was able to stride up a street in Kanab, Utah, sometimes called Little Hollywood because of its connections to the film industry, that was lined with fake grog-shops, gambling saloons, and dance halls.

Fortunately (or otherwise, depending on your stance) only dancing was never circumscribed in the town, though Powells's surveyors were able to buy Dixie wine. More recently this pleasant community below the Vermillion Cliffs has developed as a touring center located between the Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon, Lake Powell, Grand Staircase National Monument, and Bryce Canyon.

We visited Go-Utah.com for a Kanab photo gallery with two pages containing twenty four images of visitor attractions in the area around the town. In case, like us, you have problems loading any of the entries, we provide a key:

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
[15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]

We consulted Jerry L. Schneider at Move Making Locations to find out a little more about the history of film making in Kanab. From his illustrated account we discovered that the former Movie Ranch is now the Best Friends animal sanctuary, which has a statewide reputation for the caring work that they perform.

Wednesday, 14 July 2004

Suddenly, Not Very Much Happened
CREDIT: © Lynn Lary & Janet Fratella/PIT 2002 Anthro Mountain Excavation.
WHERE: Anthro Mountain, Utah. WHAT: Archaeological dig site.
MAP: Anthro Mt. 39.5347N 110.2803W 9,092 ft. Thumbnail pops-up source page.

Big Buffalo © Lynn Lary & Janet FratellaToday's editorial To Do List contained two exciting items: check out the prime [1] [2] [3] source web sites for reports on the TDF [Tour de France] stage win by crazy Queensland sprinter Robbie McEwan, who stormed through after the breakaway duo were caught twenty five metres from the finishing line when they abandoned trying to be first in favor of trying not to come second, finishing tenth and seventeenth; and check for reports on archaeological digs, as a follow up to our previous item.

Clearly excitement has as many varieties as there are ways to win a three week bicycle race, and secrets to be unearthed from the past. We burden you with this trivia of our life as a way of explaining that today's headline is not meant to be in any way a put down: let us just say that the excitement of archaeology is a bit less immediate than the excitement of bicycle racing, though neither one runs the risk of coming second. The heros of the peloton are receiving more than their fair share of coverage during July, so we decided to check on the activities of some archaeologists on a dig.

The 2002 Anthro Mountain Excavation was undertaken by a PIT team [Passport in Time] made up of U.S. Forest Service archaeologists, student interns, and volunteers.

Even in archaeology it seems the competitive spirit rages, without the performance enhancing drugs problem, we hope: on the last evening, Sandra the Sifter took both prizes, for an arrowhead and a large biface [an archaeological term for a bifacial stone tool]. The last time anyone swept the board in the TDF was in 1969 (having done the same in the 1968 Giro d'Italia) when Belgian rider Eddy Merckx took all three major competition jerseys, probably the last time in history.

We leave you to check out the sidebar menu items for an insight into the PIT teams, their work, activities, and results. [NB: the 2002 report link to the 2000 excavation report is broken; this is the correct link.] All exciting stuff in its own way.

The activity that is most relevant to our own, was the field trip to Nine Mile Canyon. The linked page shows a variety of petroglyphs worthy of close study. Archaeologists sometimes refer to an area they call the Greater Southwest, which has never been exactly defined, though everyone seems to know what is meant. We saw a neat mnemonic definition on SWAnet.org: "…from Durango Colorado to Durango Mexico, and from Las Vegas Nevada to Las Vegas New Mexico".

Another resource for those interested in the archaeological heritage of these areas comes from SUWA [Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance] in the form of a 4Mb PDF file download entitled Cultural Resources Booklet. The layout and illustration are a joy, but the message is very gloomy in many places.

Tuesday, 13 July 2004

Longest Art Gallery Threatened
CREDIT: © The National Trust/NationalTrust.org
WHERE: Duchesne, Utah. WHAT: historically & archaeological important site.
MAP: Duchesne & Nine Mile Canyon. Thumbnails [1][2][3] pop-up larger images.
Nine Mile Canyon 1 © The National Trust for Historic PreservationNine Mile Canyon 2 © The National Trust for Historic PreservationNine Mile Canyon 3 © The National Trust for Historic Preservation
Recent good news about the archaeological treasures of Range Creek, Utah, has been somewhat dampened by the American National Trust: just over the other side of the mountain, nearby Nine Mile Canyon has been put on the 2004 Most Endangered Historic Places list. The canyon has been called the 'world's longest art gallery' because of its ten thousand Native American rock-art images, and is threatened by plans for extensive oil and gas exploration. A ten years old BLM [Bureau of Land Management] plan for the canyon has never been implemented.

The canyon is actually forty miles long, but was possibly named after the 'Nine Mile Creek' triangulation drawing done by F.M. Bishop, a surveyor who accompanied the John Wesley Powell party. The survey report was presented to Congress, annotated with the Bishop Ridge and Nine Mile Creek names.

The oil men are not the only threat; the rising numbers of tourists visiting the location are in themselves a threat. While trying to raise awareness of the threat, warning articles also raise interest, thus compounding the problem by unintentionally increasing visitor numbers. Most ironic of all, are promoters such as NSBO [National Scenic Byways Online - a community led by the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration] that encourage a wider appreciation of the heritage, there for everyone to enjoy but with the double whammy of increased gasoline consumption, and greater impact from yet more visitors.

Monday, 12 July 2004

Anazazi Primitive Pottery Primer
CREDIT: © Dennis B. Zupan/SURWEB.org special presentation
WHERE: desert southwest USA. WHAT: primitive pottery class.
MAP: Four Corners. Thumbnail click pops-up special presentation.

Pottery Class © Dennis B. ZupanThe Anazazi [1][2] were a people who, around the time of Jesus of Nazareth, occupied the Four Corners region (the place where uniquely in the modern United States four states are conjoined; Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah). 'Anazazi' is a Navajo word, meaning 'The Ancient Ones'. The Black Hawk Tours web site operating as Blanding.net has an introduction to Anazazi culture in the form of a captioned slide show. It is thought that these people, driven by drought, migrated southward into what are now the southern Pueblo cultures. They left behind them abandoned dwellings and other artifacts that have survived undisturbed in the dry desert air, forming a record of the civilization.

Developing from a basket weaving culture to become stone masons and potters, many of the Anazazi artistic creations have a dignified, simple beauty. It seems that the ancient cultures of the place somewhat oddly called the New World, which were overwhelmed by the tsunami of Euroamerican culture after the voyage of Columbus, are now attracting more interest and respect. There can be few better ways to explore and understand a culture than to recreate its day to day life and art.

The SURWEB.org [State of Utah Resource Web] project has a mission "…to address discrepancies in educational opportunities for Utah students who may be poor, rural, or from culturally disenfranchised communities." One of the resources provided by the project is a slide show that records the progress of a primitive pottery class directed by Dennis B. Zupan. If the show defaults to loading images without captions, then click the •Image & Text• command in the green menubar at the top of the page. Clicking on any of the pictures will switch back and forth between view modes, with larger pictures in the individual cell views.

The full presentation runs from setting up, through potting, painting, and fire-pit 'kiln' building: supposing that some visitors may like to 'fast track' (or that other irritating buzz phrase 'cut to the chase'), we have provided five individual cells showing the class members [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] achievements. Looking at these objects we reflected that perhaps 'simple infrastructure', and 'low environmental impact' were perhaps better words than 'primitive' for describing the work of the Anazazi potters.

Sunday, 11 July 2004

VWW Tour Of Iceland With Flippi
CREDIT: © Philipp Mohr/Flippi.net in English auf Deutsch.
WHERE: Iceland. WHAT: travelog from a Swiss traveller.
MAP: Switzerland-Iceland. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Smögen, Sweden © Philipp MohrIan Scott-Parker writes: When I owned a VW camper, my buddy Robert always referred to it as the "VWW". One day I finally cracked, and asked why "VWW", to which he responded with a triumphantly smirking "Van With Windows". As a twice blessed VW owner, 'Flippi' (the nom de web of Philipp Mohr, who lives in Neuenhof in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland) gives readers a much less groanworthy explanation of his nickname. Flippi travels widely in his VW, recording his journeys on the Flippi.net web site.

As regular readers will know, we enjoy a good web photo travelog, often returning to visit Andrew Leaney, Erik Gauger, Don Burluraux, Dave Newton,and many others. We chose Flippi's trip to Iceland, which began with a wise traveller's first move, the route checking with a map. We decided on a picture of Smögen in Sweden, taken during Flippi's hop-skip-and-jump journey through five northern European countries. Lots here to enjoy. [Thanks to Eric Shackle for the lead.]

Saturday, 10 July 2004

Neglected Man From Dubuque, Iowa
CREDIT: © (not known)/Daguerre.Journalspace.com
WHERE: Dubuque, Iowa. WHAT: an innovator ahead of his time.
MAP: Dubuque, and the US Capitol. Thumbnail click pops-up source page.

US Capitol 1846 © Daguerrotype weblogThe Daguerre weblog on the Journalspace.com service wastes no words. When we visited there were seven vintage images for July of this year, and nineteen for June. The pictures, however, are informatively captioned. There are Ambrotypes, Ferrotypes, albumen prints, and of course a selection of Daguerreotypes. The picture we chose was the entry for the 04 July 2004, captioned "In honor of Independence Day, here is an extraordinarily rare Daguerreotype, circa 1845, showing the capitol building in Washington, DC. This photograph was made before the two wings and larger dome added later in the 19th century. This image was made by Plumbe, who later went mad from exposure to the chemicals used to make Daguerreotypes."

The American Memory web site has a Daguerreotype feature, including an index page of the main exponents, and another Capitol picture. We thought you might ask: a picture of the updated building is available, now in full color, though photo processes are now known by less poetic names, such as K-14 and C-41.

We knew 'mad as a hatter' was derived from occupational poisoning caused by the use of mercury to dress beaver fur for the millinery trade; one of the suggested derivations for 'plumb crazy comes from a similar reference to lead (plumbum in Latin) poisoning, but perhaps the alleged madness of John Plumbe Jr. (1809-1857) provides an alternative, if somewhat fanciful, explanation.

As the franchiser of a portrait studio chain (and the founder of the gloriously named National Plumbeotype Gallery) who took few pictures himself, it seems unlikely that the chemicals were the cause of his mental condition at the time of his suicide: bankruptcy, malaria, and unfulfilled business ambitions for the creation of a transcontinental railroad (an idea for which he is sometimes credited as the originator), do seem more likely candidates.

Friday, 09 July 2004

High Gothic Ladies Bicycle Tour
CREDIT: © Prof. Jeffrey Howe/Boston College Fine Arts Department.
WHERE: Amiens & Chartres, France. WHAT: Tour de France & Gothic cathedrals.
MAP: France. Thumbnail [1][2] clicks/text [3][4] links pop-up source site images.

Amiens © Prof. Jeffery HoweChartres © Prof. Jeffery HoweStage 05 of the 2004 Tour de France ran over the 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Amiens to Chartres. Both of these towns possess fine High Gothic cathedrals, though sight seeing was probably the last thing on the bicycle racers minds as they battled heavy rain, high winds, and crashes. The Tour official report wryly noted, "…they just limped along, crashing occasionally and hoping to survive the dangerous conditions." We hope the writer recognizes that limping & crashing can be hard work.

Delights of the OLN TV [Outdoor Life Network] coverage of all three European Grand Tours [Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España] include the helicopter shots of the countryside in the host countries. TDF04.05 was no exception, and British commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen flaunted their knowledge of architecture and history. From the Thais.it web site Gothic pages, we chose aerial views of the cathedrals in the start city of Amiens, and the finish city of Chartres.

We have no way of knowing how much Prof. Jeffery Howe knows about bicycle racing, but we suspect he probably knows rather more about architecture. His Boston College Digital Archive of Architecture provided us with the images of Notre Dame Amiens and Notre Dame Chartres. Chartres has its own [1] section, with sub sections for the [2] exterior, [3] sculpture, [4] interior, and stained [5] glass.

Thursday, 08 July 2004

When Do Graffiti Qualify As Art?
CREDIT: © William 'Slow Poke Bill' Bates/Pbase Galleries
WHERE: San Rafael Swell, Utah, USA. WHAT: graffiti versus rock art.
MAP: Utah statewide, Green River, and the San Rafael Swell.
Thumbnail click pops-up larger image. Enlarged section available for main image.

Graffiti © William BatesWhat is now known as the San Rafael Swell, an eroded anticline that extends for about eighty miles in length by thirty five miles in width, was once an area occupied by the Fremont Indian people of yesterday's Range Creek feature. Many of the petroglyphs left by these people are hauntingly evocative, even if one tries to constrain the desire to be reverential. William Bates has two examples of rock decoration in the region, one ancient and one modern. We fell to wondering: where is the dividing line between graffiti and rock art? Between these two the line becomes a yawning chasm, though the modern mind is even harder to understand than the ancient one.

We would be surprised if anyone was bold enough to step forward with a convincing and cogently argued case for the modern one to be regarded as art, though we are prepared to listen. Hello? Hello? Thought so!

The AmericanSouthwest.com web site has a good introduction to the San Rafael Swell, with a picture gallery, and a VR [virtual reality] panorama that is very effective at communicating a sense of this harsh and dramatic environment.

Wednesday, 07 July 2004

Range Creek Archaeological Gold
CREDIT: © Ellen Sue Turner/STAA.org [Southern Texas Archaeological Association]
WHERE: Range Creek, Price, Utah. WHAT: archaeological & anthropological site.
MAP: Price. Thumbnail click pops-up source page: view window also available

Range Creek Petroglyph © Ellen Sue TurnerLast week the news services buzzed with an archaeological titbit about east central Utah, and the long vanished people known as the Fremont Indians. Regular readers may remember our midsummer day item about Parowan solar observatory, which has been associated with these people. We received the news almost simultaneously from an SMH [Sydney Morning Herald] reader in Australia, and from Watson program author Dan Wood's page, along with news that Karelia has sold the Watson code to Sun: IBM-PC and other platform users will soon be able to enjoy this useful utility. This AP feed via CNN was widely circulated, including a web site in Bangalore, India.

One of the leading Utah newspapers, SLT [The Salt Lake Tribune] carried a more detailed item, usefully including a location map. The TV channels began picking up the story, and KSL in Salt Lake City, UT, ran the story in that transcript: if you are suitably equipped, a RealOne format video of the item is also available. So often the chattering classes seem to skate over the real core of a story.

Two of the groups of researchers visiting the Range Creek site have web sites with detailed information: a photo album by the STAA [Southern Texas Archaeological Association] party, with a report by Ellen Sue Turner, resulted from a 1999 visit; the four [1] [2] [3] [4] part SLCC [Salt Lake Community College] photo album was produced from 2002/3 field schools led by anthropologist K. Renee Barlow. The SLCC report includes a map based on Utah watercourses, and a presentation derived from PowerPoint slides, the latter requiring the MS-Explorer browser.

Tuesday, 06 July 2004

No Environmental Magic Bullets
CREDIT: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
WHERE: Whinash, Cumbria, England. WHAT: protest over proposed windfarm.

Borrowdale © Andrew LeaneyThis is the other Borrowdale, the one near Orton in the southeast of Cumbria, near the townships of Orton, and Tebay on the main west coast road route north.

For years the slick answer alternatives to the problems created by generating electricity from fossil fuel or nuclear sources have been solar, wave, and wind energy. However, nothing is ever as good or as bad as it first seems: each of these alternatives, not unexpectedly among the wise or experienced, has failed as a magic bullet, but brings its own problems. Led by environmental movement superstar David Bellamy, a protest was organized against one of the latest wind farm proposals in the United Kingdom. Andrew Leaney attended, joined the protest, and reported on the occasion. The debate continues.

Monday, 05 July 2004

Tour de France & Charlie Chaplin
CREDITS: © Photos Press Sport ASO/Official Nantes town web site Nantes.fr
WHERE: France. WHAT: historical Tour de France pictures.
MAP: 2004 route. Thumbnail [1][2][3][4][5] clicks & link [6] pop-up source pages.
Tour de France 1924 © Photos Press Sport ASO Nantes.comTour de France 1922 © Photos Press Sport ASO Nantes.comTour de France 1925 © Photos Press Sport ASO Nantes.comTour de France 1950 © Photos Press Sport ASO Nantes.comTour de France 1947 © Photos Press Sport ASO Nantes.com
The Tour de France is underway, so we decided to take a look back to earlier times in the history of the race. We found a treasure trove of images on the Nantes.fr web site, the official site for the French town at the mouth of the beautiful River Loire, that portrayed an event quite different from the one we experience today. We think even non bicycle racing fans will find something to enjoy from the gallery. The French may have an obsession with their bicycle race, but even that seems to take second place to their primary obsession. Bon appétit, et bonne chance! Probably in that order.

We were not joking when we associated Charlie Chaplin with the bicycle race; check out the third picture, in the middle of the thumbnail strip. It seems that from as far back as 1925, the year that The Gold Rush [translated as La Ruée Vers d'Or in French] was first released, starring the little man in the baggy trousers, talented Americans have been finding a Yellow Klondike on the roads of La Belle France. Be assured that Lance Armstrong's Nike [Flash 6 Player required - no plain HTML alternative is an inexcusable shortcoming - select entry options, then 'apparel', then top item in list] Swift Spin suit is not baggy, but an excellent aerodynamic fit.

Sunday, 04 July 2004

Paying Art Homage To Irving Penn
CREDIT: © John Dean Neff [photo: Chris Trice]/Illinois Arts Council
Thumbnail click, and link, pop-up source web pages.

Irving Penn © John Dean NeffIn yesterday's item on Jim McGuire, we mentioned his use of a canvas background. This brought correspondence from an Australian reader, who also thoughtfully corrected our embarrassingly incorrect spelling of Johnny Cash's first name.

Jim does indeed use canvas, and if you check his personal page, you will find it results from his admiration for Irving Penn (b.1917), and in particular a series of Penn images of members of the Hell's Angels Daly City Chapter. They have an interesting gallery, but they have never looked as good as they did for Penn.

On the web, you may visit three [1][2][3] overviews of Penn's career. Masters of Photography has a fourth overview, and also a gallery with sixteen [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8 female nude] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] examples to illustrate Penn's range. Salon.com offers two pages on Penn's allegedly Rubenesque female nudes of 1949, and includes a disappointingly brief gallery, claiming."We have permission to show you the ones most petite." For some reason Penn's chunky nudes seem to attract such coyness, though the flaunting sexuality of some of his fashion work seems to have been more accepted.

Images [2] and [6] in the Masters of Photography gallery, illustrate another well known Penn series. Taking two theatrical 'flats' (wooden frames covered in stretched canvas, used by theater stage set builders), Penn joined them at an acute angle. He put a series of famous people into the narrow confines of the space he had created. Examples may be seen: Lynn Powell Dougherty has a piece on Lynn's Classic Movie Favorites about Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, which includes Penn's portrait of Spencer; Truman Capote may be found on ArtStomp.com; Marcel Duchamp appears in the Cairo weekly Al-Ahram; but regrettably we were unable to find portraits of Artur Rubinstein, or Georgia O'Keefe, from the same series.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the canvas flats project has been highly regarded. Our thumbnail for today is an art piece by John Dean Neff: check out the Illinois Arts Council, Artist Fellowship Program 2002 for details, including the work and its context. Two German language sites [we checked a Google translation, but found nothing in the text of a compelling nature] take up Penn's flats idea; we leave you to judge [1][2] results for yourself - but we did find Rubinstein, and Tracy in a different pose, with a smile this time!

Saturday, 03 July 2004

Portraying Country Music Greats
CREDIT: © Jim McGuire/NashvillePortraits.com
WHERE: Nashville, Tennessee. WHAT: star portraits.
MAP: Nashville. Thumbnail [1][2][3][4][5] clicks pop-up source pages.
Emmylou Harris © Jim McGuireJohnny Cash & Billy Graham © Jim McGuireTammy Wynette © Jim McGuireLester Flatt © Jim McGuireDolly Parton © Jim McGuire
Jim McGuire takes portraits of music industry stars in Nashville, Tennessee, and has been doing so for thirty years. From Bill Monroe and Minnie Pearl onwards, individuals from a long list of Country Music greats have stood before his canvas.

We chose [L. to R.]: [1] Emmylou Harris; [2] Johnny Cash & Billy Graham; [3] Tammy Wynette; [4] Lester Flatt; and [5] Dolly Parton for the thumbnail strip. It was not an easy choice, and we are still having second thoughts about several omissions.

Check out Jim's album covers, if you have a fast connection, or are prepared to wait: one can but envy someone whose body of work is so vast that he has to check out his online credits because he has forgotten many of the covers he shot. The individual pictures are generously sized, but slow to load because of the anti piracy software; so we suggest paging through the ten galleries first. If you fail to recognize a face, you must have been living under a rock for the second half of the twentieth century.

Friday, 02 July 2004

Better To Journey Than To Arrive
CREDIT: © Basil Pao & Michael Palin/PalinsTravels.co.uk
WHERE: Pacific Rim. WHAT: circumnavigation - well almost!
MAP: interactive Full Circle. Thumbnail [1][2][3][4][5] clicks pop-up source pages.
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia © Basil PaoLa Raya Pass, Peru © Basil PaoCartagena, Colombia © Basil PaoSaigon, Vietnam © Basil PaoMekong River, Vietnam © Basil Pao
Basil Pao [original name Ho-Yun] had one career as a designer, probably most famously for the cover of the Monty Python book The Life of Brian. We were unable to find the book cover, but here is the video case. We hope the book and the video share a common design. Basil met up again with Python team member Michael Palin during the filming of Around the World in 80 Days, while in his second career, as a photographer. He has been the stills photographer on every ensuing Palin journey.

The PalinsTravels.co.uk web site is extraordinarily generous. There are video clips, maps, and online full editions of the books from the series. Basil's photographs form extensive galleries, and the pictures are available as 800x600 and 1024x768 pixels desktop wallpaper downloads. We stand amazed at being offered such riches to enjoy freely, especially in an era when some copyright owners have sought to clench their fists ever tighter around their assets by leveraging their political influence to have the existing legal protection extended.

Our choice of images for the thumbnail strip was driven by two criteria: we wanted to highlight Full Circle, in which Michael fails to complete his 50,000 mile journey by the final mile, demonstrating that anal retention is not part of being heroic; and secondly to show that quality pictures can be minimalist, and not be in-yer-face like so many of the over zoomed examples we have seen recently.

Excuse us while we vent. Next time your thumb strays towards the zoom lever on that camera you could not resist buying because it had such a long zoom range, reflect on the following: the zoom does not selectively enlarge the image, it changes the focal length, which in turn affects the perspective. Stop behaving like a bird watcher, and start thinking like a photographer. Basil's example might be a good place to start.

PS: the PalinsTravels.co.uk web site design team are a class act, too: but then who notices, or even cares about such things, when anybody could have designed most web sites, and in all probability did so? Forgive us, it's been a difficult and trying day.

Thursday, 01 July 2004

Fond Memories Now A Foreign Land
CREDITS [L. to R.]: © [1-2] Dave Newton/Daves-Lakeland-Mountains.co.uk
© [3-5] Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
WHERE: England. WHAT: nostalgia. MAPS: Whitbarrow; and Giggleswick/Settle.
Thumbnail [1][2][3][4][5] clicks pop-up larger images.
Whitbarrow 1 © Dave NewtonWhitbarrow 2 © Dave NewtonGiggleswick © Tony RichardsSettle 1 © Tony RichardsSettle 2 © Tony Richards
We have been watching Bill Bryson's Notes From a Small Island, and confess to tiny twinges of nostalgic longing for the Sceptered Isles - all four hundred plus of them, according to Bill. We now realize that this is a foreign land to us, albeit in a different way from Bill, who only lived there for twenty five years, and for whom returning to America must have been an experience like the one we expect, if we ever go back!

From our regular trawl of the UK CAM sites, we bring you some recent misty eyed favorites (L. to R. in the thumbnail strip): two [1][2] views around Whitbarrow, by Dave Newton; by Tony Richards, Giggleswick [3]; and two [4][5] views of Settle.

We recently reported on Dave's tactical withdrawal from a hike along the Cumbrian Way, so we were pleased that he achieved that special satisfaction that comes from completing a circular walk. Not only that, but Dave circumnavigated one of those tiny garnet-like gems that are part of the setting for the big diamonds that are the much better known hills and waters of the English Lake District. Tomorrow we will look at an uncompleted circumnavigation on a grander scale; but just a tiny incompletion.

  
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)