Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Hazel had to go to get a scan done on her luxating knee, so, with great trust on her side and greater trepidation on ours, we were Laurie's first ever babysitters this afternoon. He has grown and is lively, and, yes, voluble. For the duration, our house was filled with expressed breast milk and CDs of African lullabies.

Marian's never-really-submerged protective streak came to the surface several times.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Strawberry Hill House

This is, I assume and insist, the Castle of Otranto.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Anon., A Museum for Young Gentlemen and Ladies (c. 1790)

A Moscovite, or Russian Man and Woman in their proper Dresses.

An account of MOSCOVY, or RUSSIA.

MOSCOVY is the largest country in Europe, and which comprehends all that vast country which obeys the Czar, or Czarina. It is bounded by the Northern Ocean on the North; the rivers Oby and Tanais on the East; the Little Tanais, the rivers Desna and Sosa, with Lesser Tartary, on the South; Narva, Poland, Sweden, and Norway on the West: It contains about forty provinces; is a marshy country, not well inhabited, full of forests and rivers; the winter is long, and very cold; they sow only rye before winter, and the other corn in May, though their harvest is in July and August. They have plenty of fruit, melons, fowl, and fish; and their commodities are salt, brimstone, pitch, tar, hemp, flax, iron, steel, copper, and Russian leather, much valued in England. They wear long beards, short hair, and gowns down to their heels; are a mistrustful and cruel people, cunning in trading, and deceive with impunity, it being counted industry; naturally lazy and drunken, and lie on the ground or benches, all except the gentry. Until Czar Peter the Great (who polished the people, as well as enriched and improved the country), they were barbarous and savage; but he setting up printing-houses and schools in his dominions, banished ignorance, and introduced the liberal arts. Their government is hereditary and absolute, their religion is that of the Greek church. They have a number of clergy, and divers monasteries for friars and nuns. The Emperor of Moscovy is called the Czar, and Empress the Czarina.

A Spanish Man and Woman in their proper Habits.

An Account of SPAIN.

SPAIN is separated from France by the Pyrenean Hills, and on all other sides is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Straits of Gibraltar, and the Atlantic Ocean. The King has the most lands of any Prince in the world, on which account some of their predecessors have boasted, "That the sun never sets in their dominions, as having possessions in all the four parts of the world." He is stiled [sic] his Catholic Majesty. His Court is different from all others, he gives audience but one day in a week, and the rest he is shut up in his palace, the courts of which are full of merchants' shops, and resemble the cloisters of religious houses. The air of Spain is pure and dry, but very hot; the soil is sandy, and mostly barren, though where fertile not well cultivated, through the pride and laziness of the people, to which they are much addicted; though what they want in corn is made up in a variety of excellent fruits and wines, of which they have great plenty. Their chief commodities are wine, oil, fruits of various sorts, wool, lamb-skins, honey, cork, &c. The people are grave and majestic, faithful to their Monarch, delicate in point of honour, jealous, lascivious, and tyrants over a vanquished enemy; look upon husbandry and the mechanical arts with the greatest contempt. Their government is an absolute Monarchy, and their crown hereditary as well to females as to males. Their religion is Roman Catholic, nor is any other tolerated. Madrid is their capital city, which stands near the middle of the country, on top of a hill, by the little river Manzanares.

You can read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Aw heck, why not?

You can never have too much Shimabuku.

Liu Bolin (1973- )

More about him here. He also cast a large bronze statue of Barack Obama which he set repeatedly on fire. Not quite as loopy as Shimabuku, but nearly there.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


We went to the Rastro flea market today. I Indulged my taste for old photographs.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wow! Giant Octopus

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Star Wars

Someone has taken the description of it as a 'space western' a little too literally.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Korean Peninsula by Night.