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31st May

Paintings of Flowers. 'For centuries, flowers have been used to express emotion.'
'Their scent, behaviour in response to nature and physical attributes such as thorns, have led to their association with many different states of mind and being.'
'Find out more about some of the themes linked to the tulip, sunflower, lily and rose.'
Death, love, power, religion, all through flowers in art.

Aesop's Fables. 'Since 1994 Professor Copper Giloth has assigned her students in Art 271, Introduction to Computing in the Fine Arts, the task of illustrating the traditional Aesop's fables along side their own retellings of the fables in a modern setting. This collection gathers together artwork from several semesters.' Not all of the fables have a contemporary version, but this is a nice site nonetheless.

Mystical England: A Photographic Journey Among the Stones. 'In late March 2004, Wonderella artists Clint Marsh and Jeff Hoke traveled to England for a week among the ancient mystical sites of Cornwall and the West Country. Photos from their trip, along with commentary from Clint, are now available to Wonderella's readers.'

The Troubles. 'The Troubles refers to the period of violent conflict in Northern Ireland beginning with the Civil Rights marches in the late 1960s to the political resolution enshrined in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. During that time more than 3,000 people were killed, most of them civilians. Explore the history of the period through articles, video footage, audio clips and photographs. '

Eighteenth-Century European Dress. 'Dress of the eighteenth century is not without anachronisms and exoticisms of its own, but that singular, changing, revolutionizing century has become an icon in the history of fashion. The eighteenth century was a time not without memory. Its masques and remembrances of the seventeenth century were vivid, if occasionally comical. If we observe the traffic that colonialism and world markets built, we know that cultures of dress were converging and each culture was gaining from the observation, whether admitting it or not ... '

Soviet Sports Wars. 'The great wars that had devastated Europe were over. Mother Russia had suffered unimaginable losses. Over 20 million of her people had died in World War II alone. Now the fire of war had grown cold, very cold, cold as the steppes of Siberia in winter, and so had the spirit of a passionate and strong people. How to rekindle that spirit? In 1952 the Soviets challenged Capitalism at the Olympics. Their athletes would carry the torch of a new ideology into an arena where their strength and will would define that spirit. But how would these Olympian men and women survive under such a great pressure? How would they reconcile their achievements as unique individuals with their ideology of being equal to all? For many of them, this conflict, along with their experiences in America, would lead them to question the very ideology they represented. Now, for the first time, hear their side of the story ... '

Japanese Gardens. 'Japan has many landscape gardens, probably as many as any other country in the world. Landscape gardening in Japan has had a 1,300-year history, so naturally Japanese gardens come in many different styles. This issue's special feature looks at the Japanese love of gardening, and what it is about landscape gardens that people find especially appealing ... '

Chortens in Amdo: A Photographic Album. 'Architectural reliquaries housing relics are known in Tibetan as chortens, and in Sanskrit as either stupas or chaityas. In the region of northeast ethnographic Tibet known as Amdo, there are chortens in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles. Some are monumental and have a huge presence in the landscape. Some are confined within the walls of a monastery, and house the relics of famous lamas. Other small ones are within personal shrines, or are painted on walls or ceilings. In the Buddhist culture of Amdo, chortens are particularly prominent. Here is a selection of chortens photographed between January and March 2002 by Rob Linrothe, mainly in and around Rongwo (Chinese: Tongren) in the region of Amdo known as Rebgong (Chinese: Huangnan), with Dr. Linrothe's comments. Click on each photograph to see a large version.'

Hausa Folk-lore, by Maalam Shaihua, a Hausa, 1913.

Woman's Mysteries of a Primitive People. 'This is an ethnography of the Iboibo, a Nigerian tribe. Written by a pioneering English woman in the early 20th Century, this book focuses on the ritual life of women. Despite the naïve colonialist attitude, it presents a female perspective which was seldom seen in the ethnographic literature of the period. '

Canada's Aquatic Environments. 'Canada's Aquatic Environments was produced by the CyberNatural Software Group at the University of Guelph. We are dedicated to the improvement of educational materials available to schools, postsecondary institutions, and the general public through the use of interactive digital media.'

David Blevins Nature Photography.

Lynndie England/Abu Ghraib Satirical Cartoons. Compiled on Slate.

America is FAT. Cartoons.

The Passion of the Christ. Satirical cartoons.

Revilo Cartoons. Funny. Check out the greetings cards.

September 11 in Context. BBC site.

29th May

Encyclopedia of Monsters, Mythical Creatures and Fabulous Beasts.

Spinning the Web. 'Spinning the Web brings together for the first time a unique collection of some 20,000 items from the libraries, museums and archives of North West England which tell the story of the Lancashire Cotton Industry. Spinning the Web invites users to search the collection (see Help to find out how) or to explore these extraordinary times through a series of themes ... '

Hymns of the Christian Church.

China Through the Stereoscope at the Time of the Boxer Rebellion. Photographs.

The Haunters and the Haunted: Ghost Stories and Tales of the Supernatural. 'Ernest Rhys chose 57 ghost stories from literary works, folklore and myth to create an anthology that is both textbook of the supernatural and storybook of the middle world of ghosts.'

Hoaxbusters. 'Interspersed among the junk mail and spam that fills our Internet e-mail boxes are dire warnings about devastating new viruses, Trojans that eat the heart out of your system, and malicious software that can steal the computer right off your desk. Added to that are messages about free money, children in trouble, and other items designed to grab you and get you to forward the message to everyone you know. Most all of these messages are hoaxes or chain letters. While hoaxes do not automatically infect systems like a virus or Trojan, they are still time consuming and costly to remove from all the systems where they exist. At CIAC, we find that we spend much more time de-bunking hoaxes than handling real virus and Trojan incidents. These pages describe some of the warnings, offers, and pleas for help that are filling our mailboxes, clogging our mailservers, and that generally do not have any basis in fact.'

Station V3. Web comic. 'Station V3 is a rest stop and refueling station in a system where few people visit and fewer people need to rest or refuel ... '

dangerousmeta! Weblog.
'The range is broad, shifting slowly, constantly over time. But a few things remain foundations ... art and photography, design, applied digital technology, environmental issues, local New Mexican 'color,' smatterings of political rhetoric [when I can stomach it]. In short, eclecticism whilst searching for originality of style, perception and utterance. '

Art of the Japanese Postcard. Via Reenhead.

28th May

Word It. 'Word it is your opportunity to express in as many words, and as many other graphic elements as you need, what best describes each monthly topic.' Via MonkeyFilter.

D-Day. Special selection of articles from the Guardian. Letters from combatants, the celebrated war correspondent Martha Gellhorn's view, how the Guardian reported the landings, anti-Semitism in Britain 1933, Dachau concentration camp from a 1934 report, the invasion of Ethiopia, the German bombing of Westminster Abbey, and much more.

Councillor Bob Piper, a local politician who like us hails from the Black Country, has a damn fine and interesting weblog.

Bouguereau: Simple Passion. Innocence, motherhood, eroticism, religion, mortality.

Private Tolkatchev at the Gates of Hell. ' "I did what I had to do; I couldn't refrain from doing it. My heart commanded, my conscience demanded, the hatred for fascism reigned." In these words, artist Private Zinovii Tolkatchev embodies the creative essence of one who arrived at the gates of hell in Red Army uniform. '
'Tolkatchev's art was charted on the wings of the Bolshevik Revolution, created in conviction of its justness. Simultaneously with enlisting his art for the revolution, Tolkatchev the artist began to search for an additional expressive mode to manifest personal layers in his works. Tolkatchev was drawn to printing techniques and created several series of illustration to the works of many authors and poets. These works embody an epic breadth and monumentalism of a different kind. In 1941, shortly before the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa, Tolkatchev completed a large-scale series titled "The Shtetl" based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem. In this series he depicts ? with great power ? the suffering of the Jewish people under Czarist rule. These works reveal another important side of Tolkatchev's creative impetus ? his bond with the Jewish people.'
'With the USSR entering the war in June 1941, Tolkatchev volunteered to join the front. However, only towards the end of the war, in Autumn 1944, did Army officials respond to Tolkatchev's request, and he was sent to serve in the Political Department in the First Ukrainian Front, which at the time was stationed in Lublin, adjacent to the Majdanek extermination camp. "Hatred guided my brush, urged me on, the brutal reality inflamed my imagination." Horrified by the scenes he witnessed, Tolkatchev, in a spiritual whirlwind, immersed himself for thirty-five days with hardly any food or sleep, in painting the Majdanek series. Tolkatchev showed his initial works to a member of the Polish-Soviet Nazi Crimes Investigation Commission, who urged him to finish the series before November 27, 1944, the opening day of the Majdanek camp commanders' trial. The exhibition opened the day before the trial, at the Lublin Art Museum and was reviewed extensively in the Polish press. In Lublin alone, 128,000 tickets were sold, and from there, it traveled to other cities. In the Majdanek series, Tolkatchev's was able to create, as if from nowhere, a set of symbols that express the horrors of the Majdanek extermination camp. The fact of the matter is that Tolkatchev enlisted those same capacities already encountered in his earlier works, that is, his ability to synopsize and focalize. However, now Tolkatchev was painting neither in the service of the Revolution, nor of the author- poet; rather, he bluntly presented his viewers with the hard and brutal reality that he experienced and which had stricken his people, Soviet and Jewish alike ... '

St. Peter's Church, Barton- upon-Humber. 'Welcome to the web site of the St Peter's Church project. St Peter's church, Barton-upon-Humber is one of the most architecturally important churches in the north of England. Now in the care of English Heritage, it was excavated and the standing structure recorded between 1978 and 1985. This web site will bring you the results of the continuing post excavation work until the project is finally published ... '
History of Barton.
The excavation. 'St Peter's church was closed in 1970, thereafter St Mary's became the parish church of Barton. In view of its national importance, the church was taken into public guardianship by the Department of the Environment in 1978. Repairs would be necessary over the next few years and a program of archaeological study was undertaken alongside these works ... Between 1978 and 1984 seven seasons of excavation were conducted within and around St Peter's church, accompanied by structural recording and investigation of the above- ground fabric of all parts of the building. The restoration of the fabric has been completed, and the building has been opened to the public.'
Memorial database. 'This is the record of all the church memorials as recorded by the St Peter's project. Information is provided as it was recorded. Due to the state of some of the monuments some incriptions are damaged or incomplete. No attempt has been made to standardize spelling or add punctuation ... ' Name after name, inscribed on gravestones.

Arts and Designs of Japan. Woodblock prints.
Birds and flowers.

National Optical Astronomy Observatory Image Gallery. Galaxies, nebulae, stars, the Solar System.

Clinton Valley Center. ' Located in Pontiac, Michigan, this former state psychiatric hospital was Michigan's second oldest. When it opened on August 1, 1878, it was known as the Eastern Michigan Asylum for the Insane, later shortened to Eastern Michigan Asylum. In 1911, it became the Pontiac State Hospital, and in 1973 it was renamed Clinton Valley Center.'
'CVC was closed by the State of Michigan in October, 1997, and demolition began in January, 2000. By June of 2000, all of the buildings where gone.'
These pages were created to document the buildings and history of the Clinton Valley Center. '

Under Power. Furry web comic.

Giorgione and the High Renaissance in Venice. 'A search for luminous color and intuitive responses to nature -- a pursuit, above all, of the sensuous -- occupied painters in Venice for centuries. While artists in central Italy concentrated on the more intellectual aspects of form and structure, Venetian painters, beginning with Giovanni Bellini and his students, focused their attention on the surface of things, on color and texture, even on the paint itself ... '

The Georgian Family. An exhibit from the Georgian Museum of Photography.
'Within Georgian frescos of the Middle Ages there are many famous picture of family groups in Khobi, Tsalenjikha, Nekresi and etc. They are lined up frontally and performed in plane manner. In the middle of XIX century, pictorial group portrait of Nikolai Mukhran- Batoni's family was created. It was performed by a Georgian painter within the traditions of fresco painting. '
' When the photography appeared, it became possible to be photographed with whole families. Almost immediately photography became very famous occupation taking into account traditionally close family relations. On frontal photos, complicated structures of Georgian families are depicted; besides parents and children they include relatives, parents of head of the family and his wife. According to the wish of customer, absent members of family were included in a family group with the use of other photos. Some people were photographed with the photos of deceased family members ... '

Ayrshire History. 'Ayrshire is a county on the west coast of Scotland, on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. It has not been an administrative unit since 1975, when, under regionalisation, it became part of the Region of Strathclyde and was divided into four districts: Cumnock and Doon Valley; Cunninghame; Kilmarnock and Loudoun; and Kyle and Carrick. In 1996, under a further reorganisation of local government in Scotland, Strathclyde region and its Districts were swept away, and Ayrshire was divided into three districts: East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, and South Ayrshire.'
'The subject matter of the Ayrshire History Web Site is the history of the county and its people, and the local history of its parishes, towns and villages ... '

Shanghai in Images. 'Photography in China was born of an historical coincidence. When the treaty ports in China were opened to international trade in 1842, photography was newly born, and ready to become of universal use throughout the world. In China, the recording of scenes, places and events was extensive from the beginning and these images are now an invaluable source of information on the period. Progress was fast and both technological and cultural changes allowed the already strong position of photography to be dramatically strengthened again in the twentieth century. The images that reached us are of all kinds, from the straight photographic print to the glass slide or the book or journal illustration and postcard. Likewise, photographs were commercial or private, the work of professional or amateur photographers, created and/or collected by Chinese or foreigners. What they all have in common is that most of what is shown in the early photographs of China, either the way of life or the architecture, is now history ...'

The Papers of Sir Joseph Banks. 'Born in London into a wealthy family, on 13 February 1743, Joseph Banks received his earliest education at home under private tuition. At age nine he attended Harrow School and was then enrolled at Eton School which he attended from the age of 13 until 18. In 1760 he entered Christ Church at Oxford University as a gentlemen commoner. His passion for botany and dedication to Linnean precepts had developed to such an extent that, unable to study botany at Oxford, Banks employed a private tutor, Isaac Lyons, from Cambridge. As was usual for members of his social class, Banks did not take out a degree. He came down from Oxford in 1763 an independently wealthy man following the death of his father in 1761.'
'As an independent naturalist, Banks participated in a voyage to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1767. Although he did not publish an account of this expedition, he allowed others full use of his collection. In the same year he was elected a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquities. In 1778 he was elected President of the Royal Society, a position he held with varying degrees of support, until his death in 1820. He remains the longest serving President in the history of the Royal Society, founded almost 350 years ago.'
'He successfully lobbied the Royal Society to be included on what was to be James Cook's first great voyage of discovery, on board the Endeavour (1768-1771). This voyage marked the beginning of Banks' lifelong friendship and collaboration with the Swedish naturalist Daniel Solander, one of Linnaeus' most esteemed pupils, and the beginning of Banks' lifelong advocacy of British settlement in New South Wales. The Endeavour had sailed into Botany Bay in April 1770 and proceeded up the east coast and through Torres Strait, charting the east coast of Australia in the process. '
'Frustrated in his attempt at a second voyage to the South Seas, again with Cook, Banks set off in July 1772 for Iceland, his only other venture outside Europe ... '

Interactive Spider Geometry (Mygalomorph Patterns). 'Consider a race of spider- beings named Mygalomorphs who spend their days spinning webs upon circular frames. Status in their society is based on the beauty of their webs. To create the web patterns, the spiders string a straight piece of web from one point on the circle to another. Usually the patterns are dull and uninspiring, and therefore most spiders are relegated to lower societal classes. '
'One day, a rather intelligent Mygalomorph let a straight web piece amble around the circumference of the circle, the front end going six times as fast as the rear. In other words, every time the rear of the straight web moved one space, the front end moved six. After a few moments' contemplation, the Mygalomorph realized that by the time the fast end has completed one trip around the circle, the slow end had traveled just a sixth of the the way around. His web grew ever more intricate as he continued weaving. His forelimbs moved back and forth with lightning speed. '
'When he stood back and gazed at his creation, it was not some complicated, meaningless pattern but rather a five-lobed object which mathematicians on Earth call a ranunculoid (Figure 9.1 in Keys to Infinity). Amidst the intricate beauty of the strands, a ghost of the ranunculoid seemed to materialize as if out of thin air! '
'After many experiments, the Mygalomorph noticed that if one end of its web strand went n times faster around the circumference of a circle as its other end, then the web created a curve with n-1 lobes. So beautiful were his patterns, that the wise Mygalomorph soon became King of the Spiders ... '

Square Reality. 'How many squares can you count in this window? I recently designed and created this stained glass window in gorgeous color, and my brainy colleagues always give different answers! Show this to friends, as no two friends will give you the same answer -- and this is precisely why the puzzle plays with our perception of consensus reality. '

Art by Michigan Prisoners. 'A selection of work by prison artists from the six Annual Exhibitions of Art by Michigan Prisoners.'

27th May

Rembrandt: Myself. An exhibit of his self-portraits. 'When scholars began to study Rembrandt in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries they were surprised by the large number of self portraits. It was discovered that he had painted himself on at least forty occasions, had etched himself thirty-one times, and made a handful of drawings. This segment of his oeuvre is unique in art history, not only in its scale and the length of time it spans, but also in its regularity. New self portraits appeared almost annually, and sometimes several times a year. The magnificent variety of both painted and etched self portraits demonstrates that Rembrandt saw them as experimental forcing-grounds for his painterly and graphic adventures ... '

St. Macartin's Cathedral, Enniskillen. 'Captain William Cole and the others responsible for creating the town of Enniskillen in the years following 1611 chose the higher of the two hills on the island of Enniskillen, to build the church ... . ' History and photo tour.

Osaka Cyber Museum. 'This book is an attempt to fix in photographs the forms of some of the objects that the Japanese people of the past devised from natural materials and passed on to us. Although the basic ideas for many of these objects came from China or elsewhere, Japanese hands re-worked and altered them to suit the geographic setting, the climate, the customs, and the ways of living our islands. Many of the things of the thing shown the book originated in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when the increasing wealth of the urban merchant class was undermining the ancient social structure. They therefore reflect the tastes and talents of a vigorously active level of urban society.'
Index: dolls, gardens, masks, tea ceremony, paper lanterns, etc.

American Photography: A Century of Images. Art, war, politics, propaganda, society, culture.

The Code of Handsome Lake. 'Handsome Lake (1735-1815) was a religious reformer among the Iroquois, the prominent alliance of New York tribes. His 'Code', presented in this book in full, attempted to simplify the spiritual practices of the Iroquois, preaching temperance, a strict moral code, and self-determination. It also contains some startling prophecies: Handsome Lake believed the world would end (by fire) in the year 2100; he predicted the destruction of the environment, famines, and war; and one of his visions (see section 93) appears to describe the destruction of the ozone layer. This book also contains invaluable descriptions of Iroquois religious rituals and myths at the turn of the twentieth Century.'
'Arthur Parker (1881-1955) was an anthropologist who at the beginning of the 20th Century studied the Iroquois, gaining full access to their culture and language. Highly respected both by academics and the Iroquois, he wrote numerous works on their material culture, linguistics, folklore, archeology and ethnology. '

Uffish Thoughts. Great blog. Check out the 'about' page.

New Yorkish. 'A weblog of occasional humor, news and other useless information from New York City. '

B & W Mood: Oleg Moskvin Photography.

The English Merlin: The World of William Lilly and the 17th Century Astrologers. 'William Lilly (1602-81) was the most successful and influential astrologer of 17th century England. His career spanned the turbulent years of the English Civil Wars, Cromwell's Protectorate and the Restoration of Charles II. His almanacs and pamphlets had a tangible effect on public opinion, his clients included many of the leading political and military figures of an age when most people naturally believed that the stars and planets had a direct influence on human affairs ... '

Ten Bulls. A Zen parable.

Karl Blossfeldt Photogravures. 'Karl Blossfeldt's training began with the study of industrial arts and design at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin. In 1890, along with five other students, he received a scholarship to work in Rome with one of the instructors, Mortiz Meurer. Meurer assigned him the job of casting models of botanical specimens, ultimately to be used by industrial craftsmen and manufacturers. In addition, the group photographed plants based on a method developed by Meurer. Blossfeldt acquired a keen interest and special talent in this task and continued to photograph plants for the remainder of his career ... '

Drainspotting. 'Drainspotting is all about paying attention to your surroundings. Manhole covers, drains, grates, trench covers--someone had to design all of these. Functional and ornamental, there's a lot of interesting stuff happening down by your feet. Check it out. '

America: 1908-1973. An 'LBJ timeline'. 'You are invited to embark on a walk through history, the history of America through six decades of the twentieth century. These years - 1908 to 1973 are not chosen at random. They are the years that comprise the life and public career of the thirty-sixth President of the United States of America. '

Campaign 2000. 'This small exhibit in the lobby of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum features political pins and other political memorabilia almost exclusively from the Museum's collection. Although the entire exhibit is housed in one case, it features rare and special items from campaigns from Abraham Lincoln to Al Gore and George W. Bush. A selection of some of the items in the exhibit can be viewed below. Enlargements of the photos and descriptions of the items can be viewed by clicking on the thumbnail photos.'

Excerpts from D.W. Griffith's Greatest Films. The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, etc.

26th May

Vincent - the Full Story. 'Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak presents a landmark story of the life of Vincent van Gogh. Over three programmes, he follows the turbulent road the artist took, physically and mentally, revealing the truth behind iconic works such as Sunflowers, his enduring relationship with his brother Theo, and his suicide.'
'On this website, we pick up clues to his personality, such as his manic daily walk to work across London in his early career as an art dealer, and the use of symbols such as the empty chair. Leading from Vincent's career progression, we also discover the double lives of other artists, go back to school to learn art terms and offer a bluffer's guide to becoming an artist, selling and buying art ... '

Thomas Bateman's Ten Years' Diggings. 'The antiquarian Thomas Bateman, of Rowsley, Derbyshire, excavated more than 200 barrows in the Derbyshire and Staffordshire Peak District between 1843 and his death in 1861. He published his work in two volumes, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire (1848) and Ten Years' Diggings (1861). '
'Appreciation of the results of Bateman's work, which was crude by modern standards, is fundamental to a grasp of the early Medieval archaeology of the Peak District, the territory of the elusive Pecsætna of Tribal Hidage. Presented here is Bateman's own account of his excavations of some the 7th century barrow burials of the Peak Dwellers, extracted from Ten Years' Diggings and Vestiges.'

Yaron Livay. 'An eighth-generation Israeli born in Tel-Aviv, Yaron's first loves were art and writing. While serving in the navy he produced a shipboard newspaper. Later he wrote regularly in the Israeli press and had his own column, illustrated with cartoons, in a major daily newspaper. His cartoon book, Around Africa, about a sea voyage from Haifa to Eilat was published and, aged 24, Yaron was awarded first prize in a national short story competition. However, with growing family responsibilities, he felt that he needed a more secure career. He built a very successful accountancy business, always knowing that a day would come when he could leave it all behind and devote himself to his real calling ... '

'At 5:45 AM on January 17th, 1995, a violent earthquake struck the city of Kobe. In the 30 second quake, 5000 people lost their lives, and billions and billions of dollars were lost. '
'However, to this day, specialists say that Kobe was lucky. If the quake had struck 30 minuets to an hour later, the death toll would have been 50000. If the quake had struck any time between 8 am to 9 pm, the death toll would have been around 150,000 because of the crushed office buildings, the packed subway system, and the ever crowded streets and highways.'
'But for those who lost family, friends, and neighbors, no one felt lucky. The fear is engraved, and the sorrow is to remain.'

Robert B. Honeyman, Jr. Collection of Early Californian and Western American Pictorial Material. Fantastic resource. View the 2271 images in the collection here.

California Lettersheets, 1849-ca. 1870. 51 images - gallery here.

Diary of Patrick Breen 1846-47. A member of the infamous Donner party, stranded in the Sierra Nevada during the winter of 1846-47.

Alternative Energy Weblog.

Gustav Klimt. 'From his early works, Klimt caused uproar. His works were frequently taken down; the Nazis burnt some of them. His technique is fairly classical, but his subjects were scandalous; naked girls mingle with skeletons, sexuality expressed in all its forms. Ornament is all-pervasive in his work; from this background the bodies struggle to the surface. He was witness to the decadence of an entire society and the fantastic world that his paintings occupy testify to this by their collection of sex and death, while the audacity and freedom of his graphic style foreshadow modern art. '

Nikolai Konstantin Kalmakoff. 'Of Russian and Italian parentage, Kalmakoff spent his childhood in Italy where he also briefly studied painting. In 1903, he rejoined his family in Russia and became involved in Diaghilev's Mir Iskusstva (World of Art). He designed numerous theatre sets; his 1908 design for Oscar Wilde's Salome was censored for its overt sexuality. In 1920 Kalmakoff travelled to Helsinki, Brussels and southern France, finally settling in Paris circa 1924, where he is said to have become actively involved in occult rituals. After the failure of a 1928 exhibition of his work, Kalmakoff became a recluse. He was taken into a hospital for indigents in Chelles and stopped painting in 1947. An exhibition of his works was held in 1970 at Hartnoll and Eyre, London. '

UIster-Scots Voices. 'Voices is a unique BBC project, capturing the stories of unheard voices across the UK. Now you can hear Ulster-Scots voices speak the 'braid Scots tongue'! Ulster-Scots is spoken by an estimated 100,000 people in Northern Ireland. Listen as speakers from the Ulster-Scots community talk about their lives. '

My East Galleries 'in Bangkok are noted for genuine sculpture and ceramics from South-East Asia and China displayed together with fine decorative art and crafts from the region.'

Death and Funeral Customs among the Omahas, 1889. 'The approach of death is believed to be foreshadowed in various ways. There are not only intimations received by the person about to die, but there are men and women who are supposed to have a supernatural gift and can foresee death coming to one. Those persons who possess this gift receive it through the medium of visions or by having passed through an apparent death or swoon. This and other powers are sought for by means of solitary fasting and chanting the one tribal prayer to Wa-kan-da, who alone can give the desired gift. Many days and nights are often spent in this way by seekers for the gift, but those who meet with success are very few. The unsuccessful ones are, however, not without comfort, because they have faith and believe that their prayers will be heard by the hearer of prayers, who will not let them go unrewarded. Clay is put upon the head and face, and very little clothing is worn. The time for such sequestration is in the summer time, when all animals are active and in the full power of life, when the sun is hot and the thunder sounds through the air. The supplicant appeals to all the powers that surround him, as through these he expects his cry to be answered ... '

The Good Life. 'The rich have at their whim a thousand ways to relax, some methods involving rocks and a combination of diapers and pounding. A surprise gift certificate in hand, Rosecrans Baldwin initiates himself in the rites of a day spa.'

Read the Fucking Manual 'An anthology of new work from seventeen writers with Web sites, including many writers published here and in better places. Available for free as a downloadable PDF – it's the book to be seen with this season.'

Images of Binary Stars.