Ambient Album Review #2: 'The Disintegration Loops' by William Basinski

Ambient Album Review #2: ‘The Disintegration Loops’ by William Basinski

American avante-garde composer William Basinski created The Disintegration Loops by a serendipitous and heart-wrenching series of events in his life and in the history of the world. This led to one of the great classics of the ambient and avante-garde genre – a four album opus called The Disintegration Loops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjnAE5go9dI Basinski recorded some loops…

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Netsuke & Gashapon toys Ancient Japanese treasures and modern collectibles

Netsuke are uniquely Japanese and sublime in their beauty. They are tiny objects carved of ivory, ceramic, wood, tortoise-shell, gold or many other materials. They tell the story of the culture of Japan during the old Edo period and before. Netsuke featured fishermen and farmers, who rubbed shoulders with scholars, samurai warriors, royalty and even…

Travel: A roadtrip through the remote Eastern Cape, New Zealand

People seldom visit the Eastern Cape of the North Island because of its complete isolation from the rest of the country’s bustling travel routes. It’s quiet in terms of other cars – there are none, except for the occasional local farmer and logging truck ferrying wood from forests to the port in Gisborne.  It’s an…

Pagan date: Winter solistice

Pagan date: Winter solistice

Today is winter solistice in the southern hemisphere. This is a time of rebirth and a triumph of life over death. It's a reflection and renewal.  Winter solistice  Incantations Tonight is the night of the Solstice,the longest night of the year.As the Wheel turns once more, I know thattomorrow, the Sun will begin its journey…

Ancient word of the day: Athene Noctua or Athena's Owl

Ancient word of the day: Athene Noctua or Athena’s Owl

The Greek goddess Athena had as her sacred animal familiar the owl, also known as the Athene Noctua in Latin. The Romans, fond as they were of stealing from the Greek pantheon, renamed Athena to Minerva. Athena and her owl are considered to be symbols of wisdom, in both cultures. Silver tetradrachm coin at the…

Book Review: Life in a Medieval Castle

Book Review: Life in a Medieval Castle by Frances and Joseph Gies

Life in a Medieval Castle is one of a series of compelling historical reference books written by acclaimed husband and wife historians Frances and Joseph Gies in the 1970's. Life in a Medieval Castle (along with companion books Life in a Medieval Village and Life in a Medival City) were re-released in 205 under the weight…

Every Picture Tells a Story: A brief and enchanting history of Australian milk bars

A brief and enchanting history of Australian milk bars

Originally the concept of the milk bar in America was also a spin-off from the ever-popular apotheke-style pharmacists who dispensed medicines and often refreshing milk-infused tinctures to waiting customers. The customers often milled around or sat on bar stools at a long galley-style counter top. Originally, the pharmacists mixed the medicine with their backs turned…

Abandoned Desert Buildings On Creepy Lunar Landscapes

Abandoned Desert Buildings On Creepy Lunar Landscapes

These photos by Ed Freeman all elicit a deep sense of alienation and a weird sort of fascination. They underline questions that we want answered. What happened here? Who lived here? How did these places fall into disrepair? Through the atrophy of the material world we can get this uncomfortable sense that we're all destined for…

Welcome to the most remote island in the world...Bouvetøya

Welcome to the most remote island in the world…Bouvetøya

Bouvetøya, also known as Bouvet Island is definitely a contender for the most remote place in the world. I discovered Bouvetøya via an excellent Tumblr with the understated title of Map Design. This is a treasure trove of cartography. Another is the seminal book The Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky.  This is a…

Historic Jukebox: Henry David Thoreau & Fleet Foxes http://wp.me/p41CQf-9V

Thirty great medieval epithets for people and beasts

Why do we say a gaggle of geese, a flock of sheep, a pride of lions or a swarm of bees? Well it harks back to medieval times when sportsmen grouped together collectives of beasties to refer to them in movement or attributing a quality to them - presumably while the poor creatures ran away…

Pagan Date: Samhain

Pagan Date: Samhain

In the southern hemisphere, today we celebrate the pagan new year or Samhain. This ancient gaelic word means Summer's End.  On this date it's a good time to reflect on and honour those that have come before us. It's also a time to release anything that no longer serves you.  Samhain Incantation for ancestors  This…

Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Travel: A Survival Guide to Edinburgh Slang and Scots Words

If you ever go to Edinburgh and find yourself in one of its countless excellent pubs, you may want to strike up a conversation with one of the grave looking, old guys at the bar drinking pints. If so, you will want to be able to hold a conversation while also not making a fanny…

Here be the Viking Hoard: The Mystery of the Lewis Chessmen http://wp.me/p41CQf-ItW

Here be the Viking Hoard: The Mystery of the Lewis Chessmen

The Lewis Chessmen were likely to have been made in Trondheim in Norway from walrus ivory. This kind of bone was hard to come across at the time (1150-1200 A.D), as it required hunting during a brief window of time per year in the Arctic Circle, using primitive hunting tools of the time and in…

Try out these scintillating, interactive Gustav Klimt paintings

Push the slider from left to right to see the Klimt paintings come alive... View slider Inge Prader is the photographer responsible for this highly stylised and sensual ensemble of beautiful models languidly posing in such scintillating and baroque surroundings. Inge has perfectly paid tribute to Klimt's legendary works. View slider View slider The occasion for…

Pygmy marmoset. Warsaw Zoo Copyright Content Catnip 2019

Travel: The sensitive faces of animals in Warsaw Zoo

Something unexpected happened to me in Warsaw Zoo today. Instead of enjoying myself seeing all the animals I felt really sad. Why? Because they came across through my camera lens as being full of emotion, sensitivity and immense intelligence. I connected with them and their pain in the same way I would if I looked…

Helen Keller's Fierce Friendships and Bold Legacy

Helen Keller’s Fierce Friendships and Bold Legacy

Helen Keller was not just some blind lass from the last century. She was a fierce socialist, pacifist, author and sufragette who believed in birth control, workers rights and women's rights. The first blind person to complete a Bachelor's Degree, she was a bold trailblazer with a sweet nature. Keller won hearts all over the…

Book Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Book Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Yeonmi Park has to be the bravest girl/woman in the world. She was born in the North Korean city of Hyesan which is separated by a river to the Chinese border and at the age of 13, she boldly and bravely managed to escape from there and gain her freedom. Yeonmi Park’s autobiography written at the…

Ancient Australian Megafauna: Diprotodon optatum

Ancient Australian Megafauna: Diprotodon optatum

Diprotodon optatum was the largest marsupial to ever roam Australia, weighing over two tonnes. We rarely find its whole skeleton preserved in caves because it's sheer size prevented it from falling through crevices into the oblivion. Although phylogenetically Diprotodon optatum was closely related to the extant wombat and koala, in terms of its physiology in appearance it…