plep Archive

19th March
Where Is Raed?, in Iraq. Take care.

The Curtis Collection 'has ownership of the world's largest, most extensive collection of Copper Photogravure Plates ever produced or assembled. These Copper Photogravure Plates represent the life work of Edward Sheriff Curtis and his massive documentation of Native Americans, "The North America Indian." The plates are both historic documentation of Native Americans and priceless artifacts ... '

Library of Congress: Edward S. Curtis's North American Indian. 'The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis is one of the most significant and controversial representations of traditional American Indian culture ever produced. Issued in a limited edition from 1907-1930, the publication continues to exert a major influence on the image of Indians in popular culture. Curtis said he wanted to document "the old time Indian, his dress, his ceremonies, his life and manners." In over 2000 photogravure plates and narrative, Curtis portrayed the traditional customs and lifeways of eighty Indian tribes. The twenty volumes, each with an accompanying portfolio, are organized by tribes and culture areas encompassing the Great Plains, Great Basin, Plateau Region, Southwest, California, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. Featured here are all of the published photogravure images including over 1500 illustrations bound in the text volumes, along with over 700 portfolio plates. '

The Leopold Education Project.
"The problem, then, is how to bring about a striving for harmony with land among a people many of whom have forgotten there is any such thing as land, among whom education and culture have become almost synonymous with landlessness. This is the problem of conservation education." - Aldo Leopold.

Leopold Bros. Brewery of Ann Arbor. 'Two brothers, one a German-educated brewer and the other an environmental engineer, set out to create the world's first environmentally sustainable brewery. In so doing, they hoped to quench the thirsts of today's beer drinkers without limiting the ability of future generations to do the same.'

Joshua Slocum (1844-1909).
'In 1894 Slocum's first book, 'Voyage of the Liberdade' was published. During the writing of this book he purchased the 35' sloop Spray, rebuilt her, and in 1895 sailed from Boston on a voyage that circumnavigated the world. '
'It is believed that Slocum is the first person to have sailed single handed around the world. '
'His second book, 'Sailing Around the World' (1900) describes his experiences on this adventurous voyage. In 1909, at the age of 65, he set out on another lone voyage from Bristol, Rhode Island, but was never heard from again ... '

The Women's Library, London. 'The Women's Library is a cultural centre, housing the most extensive collection of women's history in the UK.
There's always a good exhibition here.

American Masters. (PBS)

Sherlockian Atlas. Atlas of the world of Sherlock Holmes.

The Tristram Shandy Web. A hypertext exploration.

Kneeling Nun Legends. New Mexico tales.

Robinson's Raspberries.

Manual of Zen Buddhism, by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, including the Ten Ox-herding Pictures.

Buddhist Mahayana Texts, translated 1894.

The Lotus Sutra, translated 1884.

The Religion of the Samurai, Kaiten Nukariya, 1913.

Autodafe, the Censored Library.

The Case of the Disappearing Frescoes. 'Or how a mustachioed Barcelona artist foiled an elaborate plot to spirit Catalonia's priceless Romanesque paintings away from their homeland.'

The Parthenon Marbles. 'Far away from their native land, the Parthenon Marbles have been situated at the British Museum for over 150 years. That certainly means that there are continuous negotiations between the Greek government, asking for their return, and the British government who, together with the Trustees of the British Museum, have refused to do this. '
'In the pages below you can read about the history of the Parthenon Marbles as well as the points of view of the Greek government, the British government, the British political parties and the British Museum itself. Finally we explain our position and ask yours too ... '

Picasso's Guernica.

Giotto's Frescoes at Assisi.

Picturing Chicago. A most fascinating 'visual sociology' site.
Many thanks to my pal Skimble.

Another online friend, Points, has an interesting poll on attitudes to the war/Iraq running on his LiveJournal page. Some of the responses are quite interesting, and a lot of people have participated so far. The comments thread is worth following too. Note that you need to have a LiveJournal login to actively participate, although even without one you can follow the progress of the poll.

Lt Smash. Weblog of a serving US soldier, in the Gulf.
Via Erin.


Pupils plan anti-war walkout.

18th March
Crossroads of Continents. 'Northeastern Siberia and Alaska - the rugged and remote lands that rim the North Pacific - were among the last regions on earth to be described by Western explorers and cartographers, or to be coveted in the courts of Europe and Russia. The North Pacific remained a great blank on world maps until well into the 18th century, less known to outsiders than the unexplored heart of Africa. Yet this vast northern wilderness of mountains, forests, tundra and ice, geographically linking the continents of Eurasia and North America, was in no sense an uninviting wasteland ... '

Feral Children.
'Feral children, also known as wolf children, are children who've been brought up with no or minimal human contact. They may have been brought up by animals (often wolves) or somehow survived on their own. In some cases, children are confined and denied normal social interaction with other people. '
'On this site you'll find a list of feral children including famous cases such as Victor d'Aveyron, Amala and Kamala, Genie, and Marie-Angelique Memmie LeBlanc of Songy. For some of the children, there are detailed texts providing further information or links to news articles on other sites. There are selective lists of books for further reading, and a few works of children's fiction. '

User Not Found. 'User Not Found is a weblog devoted to the discussion of dealing with the death of online friends. As more and more friendships/relationships are established and maintained in a virtual realm, more "real life" scenarios become relevant in the online environment. Death, unfortunately, is one of these scenarios. '

The Isenheim Altarpiece. 'The work of Grünewald expresses the torment of the early sixteenth century more fully than that of any other artist. Dürer was too steeped in Italian culture to have much use for the tortured Gothic forms which Grünewald twisted to suit his expressive purposes in his masterpiece, the Isenheim Altar, of about 1515. This was painted before Luther nailed his theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral in 1517, but it is painted by a man who, like Bosch, used his great technical powers to express a simple, unmistakable message of emotional intensity and terrible realism. '

Christmas Children's Books.

Easter Parade. 'The New Yorker's tradition of Easter covers began as a simple glorification of the purest of devotions: the Easter bonnet. The April 11, 1925, issue bore a Rea Irvin angel hovering on a cloud, eyes upturned toward her green, flowered hat ... '

Weird New Jersey. Probably linked before; always worth a look.

Sit-down Demonstrations - Raleigh, North Carolina, 1960.

Sex in the City: Japanese Erotic Prints. 'Shunga (erotic prints) were an important genre in the world of woodblock prints. Created by many of the most famous of the ukiyo-e masters, these prints are notable not only for their salacious themes, but also for their fine artistic rendering. The online exhibition displays works by many well-known artists, including Koryusai, Hokusai, Eisen and Shuncho. Most shunga were originally published in book format, with twelve prints (one for each season), typically making up a book. '

Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900): Fifty-Four Modern Feelings (Matched with the Fifty-Four Chapters of Genji).

Repatriation: An Evolving View. (Smithsonian Arctic Studies Centre)
' "Repatriation" means to be returned to one's place of origin. The Repatriation Office is now collaborating with native peoples to determine the future of Native American objects currently in the National Museum of Natural History's collection.'
'As a part of the on-going repatriation process, members of the Arctic Studies Center joined in a video teleconference between museum staff in Washington, D.C., and elders of the Tlingit and Haida Tribes in Juneau, Alaska. Images of beautiful, handcrafted objects were beamed from a table in Washington to monitors in Alaska ... '

Nuremberg. 'In the war-shattered city of Nuremberg, in November 1945, an Allied tribunal convened to seek justice in the face of the Third Reich's monstrous war crimes. '

Nuremberg Attorneys Recall Evils of Nazi Regime. ' "It's the picture of that little boy, and the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto -- you know the one I mean -- with a large peaked cap, an old man's face staring at terror ... and he was looking into the pit, into the horror, his little hands upraised. '
' "On the other hand, take the story of Anne Frank, the girl child, hiding in the attic, on the landing, crouching there, hearing the approach of Storm Troopers boots, trembling on the threshold of destruction ... the heartbreak of that is something that everybody, whether you live under the northern stars or the southern cross, can feel," he said. '

Coming to Terms. 'Our names for people who respect the environment should be as varied as the ways we see it.'
'Fifty-five years ago, when I was happily tracking mice in the newly fallen snow and pasting wildlife stamps into paper albums, there was no doubt in my mind as to what I was. Clearly I was a conservationist, someone who believed the natural world was endlessly fascinating and beautiful, and that therefore as much of it as possible should be saved. You'd think people who want to conserve would be called conservatives or something of the sort, but that's not how it works. Moreover, few people I know refer to themselves as conservationists anymore. Today anyone who cares about any aspect of the "natural world" is called an environmentalist or, in Euro jargon, an enviro ... '

Silent Ladies & Gents: Photo Galleries of Silent Movie Stars.
Josephine Baker.

A Young Actor Will Do Anything to Get Work.

At Italy's Pordenone, A Celebration of Silents.

Sir Francis Drake. 'These pages are focused on Sir Francis Drake, and in particular on his "Famous Voyage" - the circumnavigation of the world in the sixteenth century, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth ... '

Tales from Ancient India.

Vikram and the Vampire: Classic Hindu Tales of Adventure, Magic and Romance, translated by Sir Richard Burton.

American Football, by Harold Pinter. With thanks to Miguel.

Tension busters. Something we could all do with. With thanks to MadamJujuJive.

Stalin's Forgotten Zion. 'In 1934 the Soviet Government established the Jewish Autonomous Region, popularly known as Birobidzhan, in a sparsely populated area some five thousand miles east of Moscow. Designated as the national homeland of Soviet Jewry, Birobidzhan was part of the Kremlin's effort to create an alternative to Palestine ...'
Via MeFi.

Pretzels for Peace.

Peace Prayer.

Plep salutes Robin Cook.

Eliot inquires about precedents for 'Cabinet-level' resignations over principle, particularly foreign policy. There may be a couple of pertinent examples :-
In 1951, Aneurin Bevan (one of the founders of the Welfare State and a senior Labour figure) resigned from the Cabinet with Harold Wilson, over the Labour government's planned introduction of charges to the National Health Service to help finance the Korean War. The NHS was essentially Bevan's brainchild, and this was an issue close to his heart. The Labour government lots a general election held mere months later, and the split in Labour may well have been a factor. Wilson eventually went on to become Labour leader, and Prime Minister from 1964-70 and 1974-76 (so there's hope for Cook yet). This incident is briefly covered in this short BBC bio of Bevan and this obituary of Wilson.
In 1990, Sir Geoffrey Howe resigned from Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet. Howe had been a senior minister since Thatcher's election in 1979. Howe resigned over the issue of Thatcher's increasingly Eurosceptic policy towards Europe, and her autocratic style; his resignation speech was scathing, paving the way for Michael Heseltine's challenge for the Conservative leadership, and Thatcher's resignation as Prime Minister. The incident is covered here.
Both of these examples should remind Blair of the dangers of acting without the support of party or country.

It's also worth remembering that Clare Short - now International Development Secretary - resigned from Neil Kinnock's Shadow Cabinet in 1991 over Labour's support for the Gulf War. This incident is covered here.

In these times, it's also worth remembering the Suez crisis, as documented here.
'"Who will chain the 'Mad Dog' of Cairo?" asked prime minister Sir Anthony Eden, in 1956, when President Nasser of Egypt renationalised the Suez Canal, taking control from the British and French companies that owned it. On October 29, as part of a secret plan that only emerged years later, Israeli forces invaded the Sinai peninsula and headed for the canal zone. Britain and France offered to reoccupy the area and separate the warring armies. Nasser refused and the European powers launched a joint invasion.'
'When the Soviet Union offered to intervene on Egypt's behalf, the US president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, fearing a wider war in the Middle East, opposed the action of his Nato allies. The US delegation at the UN voted in favour of a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of the invading troops. Britain, France and Israel accepted these terms and withdrew by December.'

Dwight D. Eisenhower, from
'Further examples of Eisenhower's commitment to world peace are visible in his response to the Israeli-Egyptian conflict ... At this regional flash point, Israeli forces aided by Britain and France launched a devastating sneak attack against Egypt, taking control of the Suez Canal. Originally, Egyptian forces had seized the canal, owned by Britain and France. Rather than back longtime allies in a victorious war, Eisenhower sponsored a UN resolution condemning the invasion. Going even further, he cut importation of oil to the aggressor nations, preventing a British/French taskforce from supporting the assault, and eventually forcing Israeli troops to withdraw. Without Eisenhower's mutable character, willing to compromise, yet decisive and firm in his commitment to peace, the Suez Crisis might have precipitated a worldwide conflagration.'
Ah, those peacenik Americans (and those warmongering Brits and Frenchies).

17th March
The Delta Blues Museum. 'Formerly the Yazoo and Mississippi River Valley Railroad Depot, and later the Illinois Central Railroad Freight Depot, this circa 1918 brick building has been totally rehabilitated to serve the Clarksdale community and the world of blues music. It has been restored to historical standards with the help of the architect, Dixon Tyson and Associates and the Department of Mississippi Archives and History.'

Year of the Blues, 2003.
The British blues.
Blues riff of the month.

Painted Blues.

'The Buddhist art of the Hindu Kush mountain region, of which the Bamiyan Valley is a part, represents the final flowering of Buddhism in Afghanistan. The kingdom of Bamiyan was a Buddhist state positioned at a strategic location along the trade routes that for centuries linked China and Central Asia with India and the west. Bamiyan served as an important monastic and spiritual center, as well as a hub of intense commercial activity. The site was constructed between approximately the fifth and ninth centuries A.D. during a distinctive phase in the history of Buddhist art, a period of intense cultural and religious exchanges between east and west, and a time of great cultural change within Buddhism itself ... '
Via Lost and Stolen Images: Afghanistan.

Tales of the North American Indians, by Stith Thompson, 1929.
'Stith Thompson, a Distinguished Professor of English and Folklore at Indiana University, anthologized these Native American tales from the ethnographic literature. His chief contribution to the field was his 'Motif-Index of Folk Literature', which is a cross-cultural index of themes that occur in folktales.'
'Reading through the traditional folk stories of Africa, Europe, and Native America, it becomes obvious that there are a broad set of motifs that are appear across geographic boundaries. Is this evidence of diffusion or something buried deeper in our cultural matrix that goes back to our common origins? This is still a mystery.'
'Stories where virtue is rewarded, evil step-relations plot against the rightful heir, anthropomorphic animals play out very human dramas, and so on, soon blur together. There are also stories with violent, brutal, bawdy or transgressive sexual elements. Not all folklore is suitable for children! ... '

The Walam Olum.

Rig Veda Americanus. 'Sacred songs of the ancient Mexicans with a glossary in Nahuatl.'

Howlin' Wolf Blues Society, West Point, Mississippi.
Wolf photos.
Wolf biography. 'A large, intimidating man who stood well over six feet tall and weighed close to three hundred pounds, Wolf's gripping histrionics and sheer physical intensity gave new meaning to the blues nearly every time he performed. He would jump about the stage like an angry man trying to work off dangerous steam, or wriggle on the floor as if he was in unbearable pain, or whoop and howl and hoot like someone who had succumbed to the worst of demons. Wolf acted out his most potent blues; he became the living embodiment of its most powerful forces.'

Route 66 Blues Project.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Mahanirvana Tantra: Tantra of the Great Liberation, translated 1913.

Shakti and Shakta.

The Perfumed Garden, translated by Richard Burton, 1886.
Via Sacred Texts: Sexuality.

The Ananga Ranga, translated by Richard Burton, 1885.
Via Sacred Texts: Sexuality.

The Sculptor Galaxy.

Where Is Raed?: Rant. 'No one inside Iraq is for war (note I said war not a change of regime), no human being in his right mind will ask you to give him the beating of his life, unless you are a member of fight club that is, and if you do hear Iraqi (in Iraq, not expat) saying "come on bomb us" it is the exasperation and 10 years of sanctions and hardship talking. There is no person inside Iraq (and this is a bold, blinking and underlined inside) who will be jumping up and down asking for the bombs to drop. We are not suicidal you know, not all of us in any case.'
'I think that the coming war is not justified (and it is very near now, we hear the war drums loud and clear if you don't then take those earplugs off!). The excuses for it have been stretched to their limits they will almost snap. A decision has been made sometime ago that "regime change" in Baghdad is needed and excuses for the forceful change have to be made ... '

The Pentagon's New Map dissected and treated with all the respect it deserves (none!). Courtesy of Page Count.

Anger as CIA homes in on new target: library users. (Link fixed 17th March) 'On the check-out desk at Santa Cruz public library, beside the usual signs asking people to keep quiet and to return their books on time, there is what might be called a sign of the times. 'Warning: although Santa Cruz public library makes every effort to protect your privacy, under the federal USA Patriot Act records of books you obtain from this library may be obtained by federal agents,' it reads. 'Questions about this policy should be directed to Attorney General John Ashcroft.' '

World School Photographs.
Thanks, jp.

Astronaut Dinosaur. A story about a plastic dinosaur.

The Northern Magic. A trip round the world. Via MeFi.

Barbie's Blog. (Also Madison's and Chelsea's). I believe this is satire (on blogs or Barbie, or both). In any case, it gave me a chuckle. Via MeFi.

Adian Mole, Diary of a Provincial Man.

And now for the weather, Aboriginal style.
'In 1788, when English settlers first arrived in Sydney, they imposed the four European seasons on their new home without any real knowledge of local weather patterns, yet the local Aborigines lived according to an annual six-season calendar. '
'For longer-range weather forecasting they used an 11-12 year cycle and a massive 8,000-10,000-year cycle, said Bodkin, who is entrusted with D'harawal weather knowledge. '
'The bushfires which burnt through Sydney in the past two "European summers" came as no surprise to Aborigines as Sydney's queen wattle trees bloomed heavily for the past two years, a sign bushfires were coming, said Bodkin ... '
'Sydney's six-season Aboriginal calendar is based on the flowering of various native plants. '
'-- Murrai'yunggoray, when the red waratah flower blooms, is the first season. Spanning September and October, it is a time when temperatures rise.
'-- Goraymurrai, when the two-veined hickory wattle flowers, occurs around November to December. It is a time of warm, wet weather and historically Aborigines would not camp near rivers for fear of flooding.
'-- Gadalung marool, when the single-veined hickory wattle flowers, is hot and dry. It occurs from January to February and Aborigines only ate fruit and seeds as the heat meant stored meat would go off quickly.
'-- Banamurrai'yung, when the lillipilli tree produces tiny sour berries, is around March to May and is a time of wet, cooling temperatures, a signal to make cloaks to keep warm.
'-- Tugarah'tuli, when the forest red gum flowers around June to July, is a cold time. Aborigines would traditionally journey to the coast where food was more abundant.
'-- Tugarah'gunyamarra, when the gossamer wattle flowers around August, is the end of the annual weather calendar. It is a cold and windy season, a time to build shelters facing the rising sun. It was also a time for Aborigines to return to Sydney's western highland, following fish upstream ... ' Be afraid...

Erich von Daniken's new theme park.

16th March
Devotion of Hiroshima to the Cause of Peace. From the city of Hiroshima's website.
'Fifty-eight years ago, Hiroshima suffered the world's first atomic bombing. To prevent repetition of such tragedy, the city has sought ever since to covey the facts of the bombing to the world. We have engaged in a wide variety of efforts for peace and now seek to build a 21st century of peace and humanity free from nuclear weapons.'
Request to members of the United Nations Security Council to oppose any resolution authorizing attack on Iraq .

Blues for Peace. 'And they shall beat their swords into Guitars...'

Guide to anti-war websites.

Bare Witness. They flash for peace.


Everyone Counts. Mass letter-writing campaign. (Link now fixed).

Gloucestershire Weapons Inspectors. To eliminate WMD's from Gloucestershire.

Iraq Body Count. 'The worldwide update of civilian casualties in the war on Iraq.'

Labour Against the War. Opposition to the war from within the Labour Party.

Oxfam Iraq Petition. 20,000 people signed it.

Rhythms of Resistance. Samba band.

Voices in the Wilderness. 'Over the last ten years hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children have died as result of United Nations imposed economic sanctions. Denied adequate food, clean water and medical facilities, children succumb rapidly to malnutrition and infectious disease. In 1997 UNICEF reported that nearly a million children under five were chronically malnourished; further surveys in 1999 showed that child mortality in south / central Iraq had more than doubled since 1989. Conservative estimates put the number of excess deaths among Iraqi under-fives, since sanctions were imposed in 1990, at 227,000. '

Act Together: Women Against Sanctions. UK-based Iraqi and non-Iraqi women against sanctions.

Americans Against Bombing. Conservative/libertarian site.

American Friends Service Committee. Multi-faith.
Global candlelight vigil. 'Desmond Tutu, AFSC,, and the Win Without War coalition invite people around the world to join in a Global Candlelight Vigil, Sunday, March 16.'

Code Pink for Peace.

Not in Our Name.

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

Veterans for Common Sense. 'Veterans for Common Sense seeks to inject the element of Common Sense into debates over war and national security. In an age when the majority of public servants have never served in uniform, the perspective of war veterans must play a key role in the public debate over national security issues in order to preserve the liberty veterans have fought and died preserving.'

Veterans for Peace.

Bermuda for Peace.

Nobel Laureates on Iraq. "The undersigned oppose a preventive war against Iraq without broad international support. Military operations against Iraq may indeed lead to a relatively swift victory in the short term. But war is characterized by surprise, human loss, and unintended consequences. Even with a victory, we believe that the medical, economic, environmental, moral, spiritual, political, and legal consequences of an American preventive attack on Iraq would undermine, not protect, U.S. security and standing in the world".

War Resisters' International.

Women in Black.

Women's Intenational League for Peace.

Poets Against the War.

Carnival of Chaos.

The Lysistrata Project.

Wake the World. Posters.

No War Blog.

The Q Factor. Indian anti-war blog.

Nelson Mandela on the war. 'Criticism of Bush, much of it personal, dominated the former president's address as he encouraged women of the world to be "bold with its leadership and condemn the looming war America is preparing for".'
The Mandela Page.

Jimmy Carter warns against 'catastrophic' war. 'Former US president Jimmy Carter has warned of the potentially "catastrophic consequences" of a pre-emptive US war on Iraq. '
Jimmy Carter: An alternative to war.

Mikhail Gorbachev: I fear Bush and Blair war plan.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's views on war and Iraq conflict. 'The Iraq issue is becoming very critical now. War, or the kind of organized fighting, is something that came with the development of human civilization. It seems to have become part and parcel of human history or human temperament. At the same time, the world is changing dramatically. We have seen that we cannot solve human problems by fighting. Problems resulting from differences in opinion must be resolved through the gradual process of dialogue. Undoubtedly, wars produce victors and losers; but only temporarily. Victory or defeat resulting from wars cannot be long-lasting. Secondly, our world has become so interdependent that the defeat of one country must impact the rest of the word, or cause all of us to suffer losses either directly or indirectly.'
Dalai Lama against 'thrusting war' on Iraq.

The Pope warned against war in his Christmas address.
'Pope John Paul II has made a Christmas plea to avoid a war in Iraq, where UN weapons inspectors have carried out more searches of suspect sites. '
'In his traditional Christmas Day message, Urbi et Orbi, the pontiff also called for all religions to end the conflict in the Holy Land, describing it as a "senseless spiral of blind violence". '
Pope voices opposition to war.

The Archbishop of Canterbury: Don't call us appeasers for hesitating.

More violence is not the answer.

Dixie Chicks pulled from air after bashing Bush.

Anti-war protests around the world. 'The outpouring of anti-war sentiment came one month after millions turned out for some of the biggest demonstrations in decades in capitals around the world. But amid the chants of "give peace a chance" were pessimistic voices as well. '
Guardian special report: the anti-war movement.
'People's parliament' challenges Blair.
Independent Iraqis opposed to war. 'A large number of Iraqis were among the million-member throng, including two key independent political groups. They carried banners denouncing Saddam Hussein (thereby echoing the sentiments of many non-Iraqis since this was not a protest by pro-Saddam patsies, as the pro-war people also falsely claim). They represented important currents in the Iraqi opposition, and ones whom the Americans have repeatedly tried to persuade to join the exiles' liaison committee.'
The insidious influence of 'The West Wing', as opposed to Martin Sheen's personal anti-war stance.

RIP Thora Hird.

A shouting fish?

Pop career for bin Laden niece.