plep Archive

9th April
International Rescue Committee: Iraq appeal.

The Elkus Indian Papers. 'The California Academy of Sciences houses a collection of over 3,300 documents related to Indian affairs over the period 1922-1963. These papers came from the estate of Charles de Young Elkus, a San Francisco attorney whose sense of fairness manifested itself in his opinions and in the positive influence he exerted through his interest in the struggles of Native Americans of the Southwest. This interest spanned a wide range, from politics to social problems to art. '
'Charles Elkus and his wife Ruth became involved with the Native Americans primarily through the Indian reform movement of the 1920's. Through legal advice, leadership in public support groups, and numerous personal contacts, they helped the Pueblo Indians regain control over their lands and water, which had been taken by white squatters. Over the years the Elkuses also fought to reform the Bureau of Indian Affairs and improve Indian health care and living conditions. The movement of which they were a part eventually culminated in the Roosevelt administration's "Indian New Deal" of the 1930's ... '

Keepers of the Treasures. (US National Park Service)
'Preservation of heritage is seen as a key to fighting such contemporary problems as alcoholism and drug abuse, which flourish where society is in stress. Preservation can help to restore structure and pride to tribal society, providing direction from the past that is vital to the future. A Yavupai representative commented that "to know what you are, and where you came from, may determine where you are going." ... '

Le Tumulte Noir. 'In 1925, Josephine Baker (1906-1975) and the musicians and performers of her troupe, La Revue Ngre, exploded on the stage at Paris' Thtre des Champs-lyses with a wild new dance called the Charleston. The Jazz Age was at its height, and Baker was destined to become its high priestess.'
'Four years later, French poster artist Paul Colin (1892-1985), Baker's one-time lover and life-long friend, published a portfolio of vividly colored lithographs titled "Le Tumulte Noir" ("The Black Craze") which captured the exuberant jazz music and dance that dazzled Paris ...

Louis Armstrong: A Cultural Legacy.

The History and Aesthetics of Tea in Japan.

Sutra Manuscripts of the Nara Period. 'The teachings of Buddhism were transmitted in written form by way of scriptures called sutras. Even slight errors in the transcription of these sacred texts were prohibited, for which reason sutras were always copied in standard script (kaisho), considered most formal and easy to read. During the Nara period (710-794), however, the tremendous number of sutra manuscripts produced exhibit Chinese characters with not only excellent clarity but also great beauty ...'

The White Cloud Temple (Baiyun Guan), Beijing. 'The White Cloud Temple in Beijing traces its origins to the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 713-756) of the Tang dynasty, who commissioned a statue of the Daoist sage Laozi and the Tianchang Temple to enshrine it. Prior to the establishment of the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), Genghis Khan installed Qiu Changchun, the founder of the Longmen branch of the Quanzhen sect of Daoism, in Yanjing (present-day Beijing). Both Qiu Changchun's remains and the Tang statue of Laozi reside in the White Cloud Temple, built in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) ... '

The Origins of Daoist Art.

Wood Duck, from Audubon's Birds of America.

New Scientist: Bioterrorism and Bioweapons Special Report.

Tete a Tete: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Erico Menczer: A Man with the Umbrella.

Horror, Fantasy and the Grotesque in Art. 'This is an exhibit of visual art that exposes and explores various artists' treatments of the principal anxieties of modern man. The graphically violent content is intended for mature audiences. '

Franklin & His Friends. Portraying the man of science in 18th century America.

Celebrity Caricature in America. 'The art of caricaturethe distortion of the face or figure for satiric purposesclaims a long tradition in Western art. For centuries, comically exaggerated portrayals served the purpose of ridicule and protest, probing beneath outward appearances to expose hidden, disreputable character traits. In early twentieth-century America, however, caricaturists deployed a fresh approach, inventing a form of stylized portraiture that responded to the new preoccupation with mass-mediagenerated fame. They chose for their subjects colorful personalities rather than the corrupt officials. Their epigrammatic likenesses, transformed by a modern aesthetic and a detached, sophisticated wit, appealed to an audience hungry for emblems of the emerging celebrity culture ... '

Marilyn Monroe, Korea, 1954. Photographs.

Churches Ad Hoc: A Divine Comedy. Photographs of offbeat American churches.

Along West 11th Avenue. 'West 11th Avenue is a main thoroughfare in Eugene, Oregon, of about five miles in length, that leads to the coastal city of Florence. For a mile and a half it runs through an older residential section of mostly single family homes. It is then joined by Highway 26, and for the next mile and a half becomes a commercial strip. The rest of way, until the city limits, the area along West 11th Avenue is occupied by light industry or designated wet lands.'


Hamlets of Lane County.

Billie Holiday Sings Strange Fruit. ' ... Allen's powerful imagery made "Strange Fruit" one of the most solemn and startling songs ever written. At first, Holiday was hesitant about performing it. But then she relented. She still felt bitter about the circumstances that had led to her father's death, and it was easy to recall the many times that she had encountered racial prejudice while on tour. "I'm a race woman," she once said, and "Strange Fruit" enabled her to express this sentiment to her audiences ... '
Via MeFi.

Thai Bugs. Thanks snez.

Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll.

Children's Books of the Early Soviet Era. Thanks, hama7.

The Construction of Memory.
Thanks, Miguel.

8th April
The Medici, Michelangelo and the Art of Late Renaissance Florence.

History of Bloodletting. 'For many centuries, blood-letting was considered a tried and true remedy for certain conditions. It was recommended for fevers, inflammations, a variety of disease conditions and, ironically, for hemorrhage. Although it fell in and out of favor, it persisted into the 20th century and was even recommended by Sir William Osler in the 1923 edition his Principles and Practice of Medicine ... '

Yard Dog - Folk Art of the South.

Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations. Roadside America art and oddities.

Minnesota's Roadside Architecture. 'This is a project that began in the late 1960's. An attempt has been made to photograph and record all of the various "roadside attractions" in Minnesota. No specific addresses are given, as part of the adventure is to find them ... '

Big Road Blues. Nice blues site.
Understanding the Blues - Little Blues Book.

Beale Street Blues Photos. 'I go to Beale Street and photograph blues musicians every chance I get. '

Beef Stew's Blues Playground.

The Miniature Book Library.

Stamps of Greenland.

The Buddhist Inscription at Keu-Yung-Kwan. 'This inscription is engraved in the characters of six different nations, viz., Mongol or Bashpah, Uighur, Nyuchih, Chinese, Devanagari, and Tibetan. On examination it is found to contain certain Buddhist dharani or incantations ... These dharanis are found in various Buddhist works, and are supposed to represent the highest and most potent charms which words proceeding from the top of the illustrious diadem (chu.da) of Buddha's head are able to convey ... '

The Avalambana Sutra.

The Ngan-Shih-Niu Sutra.

Star Formation in the Eagle Nebula.

4000 Years of Miniature Books. (Thanks snez).

The Dullest Blog in the World. Via MeFi.

7th April
Domesday Witham. 'This is an adaptation of a booklet written by my mother, Janet Gyford. It details the entries in the Domesday Book relating to the town of Witham, in the county of Essex, in the UK. The Domesday Book was a record of the survey of England carried out in 1086 by William the Conqueror in order to assess taxes and find out other details of the country he conquered 20 years earlier. The book is preserved in two volumes at the Public Record Office, London, and its name comes from the belief that its judgement was as final as that of Domesday ... '

The Boston Tea Party. 'The Boston Tea Party was one of the most effective pieces of political theater ever staged. John Adams, no fan of mob action, wrote of the dumping of the tea: "There is a dignity, a majesty, a sublimity, in this last effort of the patriots that I greatly admire." ... '
Via Liberty! The American Revolution. (PBS)
Liberty Today. Naturalised citizens: a photoessay.

The Story of the Faithful Deer. A Buddhist tale.
'There is, perhaps, no fable so frequently met with in Buddhist books, and also depicted on coins and in sculptures, as the story of Buddha when he was the king of the Deer. It is possible that this very story is that called the Miga-Jataka at Bharhut, at any rate it is one that carries interest with it, both as it exemplifies the duty of wife-like devotion, and also exbibits in the simplest way the mode of instruction adopted by the founder of the Buddhist religion, to impress on the minds of his followers the moral lessons it was his aim to inculcate ... '

The Northern Buddhist Legends of Avalokitsewara's Descent into the Hell Avichi.
'One of the most remarkable features of the Northern Buddhism, current in Nepal, Tibet, Tartary, and China, as distinguished from the Southern, current in Ceylon, Burma, and Siam, is the worship paid to the Bodhisattwa Avalokiteswara.'
'This Bodhisattwa is supposed to be the son of Buddha Amitabha, who reigns in the Western heaven, called Sukhavati; to him is attributed the famous formula Om padme hum, and he is looked upon as the tutelary saint of Tibet. In China he is worshipped under a female form (corresponding apparently to the Hindu notion of a deity's sakti, or personified power), as Kwan-yin, or the Goddess of Mercy ... '

The Hastamalaka.

BackWaterBlues: In Search of Bessie Smith. 'The title BackWaterBlues attempts to express in the language of our time (going so fast we are losing the spaces between words) a universal condition described by Bessie Smith in one of her best known compositions, "Backwater Blues." The title also seems appropriate for a book on an artist (1894-1937) whose work so connects the remote place and time to the present. When Bessie Smith hired Ida Forsyne, the master dancer, to work with her on Smith's traveling show in the 1920s, Bessie Smith came in contact with an artist who had worked as a child with Sissieretta Jones, the 19th-Century classical and popular singer whose Black Patti Troubadours provided a training ground for some of the most prominent musicians of the early 20th Century. On the other hand, when she hired a young blues singer, Victoria Spivey, Bessie Smith extended her touch to someone still performing and recording into the 21st Century, Bob Dylan ... '
Louis Armstrong on Bessie Smith. " ... Love and sex. That's what it is. If you listen to the lyrics to some of her blues -- "

BB King. His official site. Download blues samples here.

The Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation ', a non-profit organization, is tasked with keeping the blues tradition alive -- more specifically, East coast acoustic folk blues. Archie's Barbershop, located in NE Washington, DC, functions as a museum, music hall and educational facility, as well as headquarters for the organization ... '

Leif Ericsson: Discoverer of Iceland.
"The country which is called Greenland was discovered and settled from Iceland. Eric the Red was the name of a man from Breidafjord who went there from here and took possession of land in the place which has since been called Ericsfjord. He named the country Greenland, and said it would make people want to go there if the country had a good name. There, both in the East and the West, they found human habitations and fragments of skin boats and stone implements, from which it was evident that the same kind of people had been there as lived in Wineland and whom the Greenlanders call Skraelingjar. He began settlement in the country 14 or 15 years before Christianity came to Iceland, according to what a man who himself had gone there with Eric the Red told Thorkell Gellisson in Greenland."

Baugsstadir Creamery. 'The only creamery in Iceland still with its original equipment is at Baugsstadir. It was founded in 1904 by 48 farmers from Stokkseyri and its neighbourhood ... '

Cherry Trees of Washington. 'The blooming of the cherry trees around the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. has come to symbolize the natural beauty of our nation's capital city. Hundreds of thousands of city residents and visitors from across the nation and around the world come here to witness the spectacle, hoping that the trees will be at the peak of bloom for the Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.'s rite of spring ... '

The Vanderbilt Mansion.

The Lantern Room. 'This page is where I've collected pictures of some of the beautiful Fresnel lenses that are (or were) housed in west coast lighthouses. They greatly magnify the light from a single small source, and direct it so that it shines brightly for mariners to see many miles from shore. Some lenses continue to do that job today, seeing constant service for as long as 142 years ... '

Science Makes a Better Lighthouse Lens.

Australian Brass Band Photographic History.
Via boynton.

Billie Holiday.
Via wood s lot.

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression. 'With a student body numbering over ten thousand boys, the Bronx's DeWitt Clinton High School produced more than its share of writers and artists, many of whom were published in The Magpie, the school's literary magazine. This website presents 195 poems, articles, and short stories and 295 graphics and photographs from The Magpie, encompassing the years 1929 to 1942. Taken together, they comprise a portrait of student life in New York City during the years of the Great Depression.'
Via Iconomy.

Exposing PNAC. Via American Samizdat.

Peace Poster Competition. Via Cheesedip.

6th April
History of Reykjavik: Farm to City.
'The settlement of Iceland began in the 9th century, from Norway. According to historical tradition and existing written sources, Iceland's first permanent settler was Ingůlfur Arnarson, who made his home at ReykjavŪk around AD 870 ... '
'Legend claims that the decision to settle in ReykjavŪk was placed in the hands of the gods: Ingůlfur flung his high-seat pillars, carved in thelikeness of the Norse gods, into the sea, and swore to settle where the pillars washed ashore. It is, however, more likely that the place was chosen for its natural advantages ... '
A child's doll.

Italian Faery. Descriptions of several species of faerie in Italian folklore.

The Alabama Blues Project.
'Alabama is often overlooked as a serious producer of blues music. In recent years the international and national interest in blues has dramatically increased and we hear about blues from Chicago, Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and others, but when is the last time you heard any news about Alabama blues? Can you name a well known Alabama-based blues artist? Probably not. Check out our links to Alabama artists to refresh your memory and learn about some new ones. Let us know if you can add to our list. Mississippi, a state right next door to Alabama, is rich in blues history and talent but guess what... The blues didn't stop at the Alabama stateline!

And This Is Maxwell Street. 'In 1964, documentary film maker Mike Shea made And This Is Free, a now-legendary film about Chicago's Maxwell Street What if all the music from the film--and more--had been discovered? ... '

Microwave Dave & the Nukes. Best name for a blues band, ever.

Chaitanya and the Vaishnava Poets of Bengal. Poems from the 15th and 16th centuries, with commentary.

The Naladiyar. A Tamil book of ethics.
'1. Even those who have eaten of every variety of food of six flavours laid before them by their wives with anxious attention, not taking a second portion from any dish, may yet become poor and go and beg somewhere for pottage. Verily riches are but seeming, not to be considered as actually existing.'
'2. When by blameless means thou hast acquired great wealth, then eat with others rice imported by oxen, for wealth never remaineth in the centre with anyone, but changes its position like a cart-wheel.'

The Early Vaishnava Poets of Bengal: Bidy‚pati.
'On (her) fair face the vermilion spot, black (her) weight of hair,
As though the sun and moon rose together driving away the darkness.
CHO. Ah lady! the moonlight has increased:
With what labour how many charms fate has given to thee!
Thy budding breast thou coverest with thy robe, showing it a very little;
With how much soever labour thou hidest it, the snowy mountain cannot be hid.
Looking sidelong with glancing eye, adorned with collyrium,
Like a lotus shaken by the wind, tilted by the weight of the bees.
Quoth Bidy‚pati--Listen, maiden, know that such as is all this,
Rai Sib Singh and RŻpnar‚yan, (such is) Lachhim‚ Debi in truth.'
The Early Vaishnava Poets of Bengal: Cha.n.dÓ D‚s.

Coney Island Circus Sideshow.
'Sideshows by the Seashore is the last place in the USA where you can experience the thrill of a traditional ten-in-one circus sideshow. They're here, they're real and they're alive! Freaks, wonders and human curiosities! We perform continuous admission and we are conveniently located at the world famous Coney Island amusement park. Think about it folks, the ten-in-one circus sideshow is another Coney Island gift to culture along with other Brooklyn beach inventions like the hot dog and the roller coaster. Established by Coney Island, USA in 1985, where else would you find the world's first professional non-profit theatre dedicated to keeping alive the American sideshow? ... '
Coney Island Mermaid Parade.
Coney Island Burlesque at the Beach.

Astroland Amusement Park. Home of the world-famous Cyclone; NYC's largest amusement park.

Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park in Brooklyn.
History of the park. 'Deno's WONDER WHEEL, stands 150 feet tall as the centerpiece of the ever-thriving Coney Island Amusement area. Located on the Boardwalk, this amazing attraction includes 16 swinging passenger cars and 8 stationary cars that give riders a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, the Jersey Shore & the NYC Skyline. This year, over 200,000 people of all ages will ride the Wonder Wheel ... '

Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

Drawing of a Franklin Tree, depicting the life cycle of a seedpod.
Via Constantine Rafinesque: An 'Odd Fish' Who Swam Against the Tide. 'The intellectual breadth of the man was enormous. By the time he was 52, he had been a botanist, geologist, historian, poet, philosopher, philologist, economist, merchant, manufacturer, professor, surveyor, architect, author and editor, among other accomplishments. In the early and middle 1800s, he roamed the eastern part of the North American continent, collecting and cataloguing plants and animals. He is credited with having first described more than 100 species ... '

The Walam Olum: Its Origin and Authenticity.

Geek Volunteer Overseas. Start from the prologue.