Holiday Secrets

December 9, 2008 at 9:53 pm (Comics, History, Horror)

Something about the winter holidays makes me think of drafty castles, ancient mysteries, and lost treasures. Does that make me weird?

In any case, I recently came across this article about a real story of, well, drafty castles, ancient mysteries and lost treasures, that I couldn’t pass up posting. For anyone else who likes secret passages, well, Happy Holidays!

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Cool Pix

June 12, 2008 at 7:37 am (History, Travel)

Maybe it’s my Indiana Jones complex, but when I saw these pictures, I was pretty impressed. Apparently, these come from an early Christian sanctuary just recently rediscovered, a hidden cave underneath a known ruined church in Jordan. The cave may have been a secret meeting place for Christians, during the period when Christianity was still persecuted by the Roman Empire. Later, when Christianity became legal, they would have built the later church on top of the cave, and then forgotten about the original sanctuary. Read the rest of this entry »

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Crystal Skulls

May 29, 2008 at 1:37 pm (Dissertation, History, Horror, Movies)

Let me start off by saying that I loved the new Indiana Jones movie. I’ve heard a number of different reviews, good and bad, and as far as I’m concerned, it was absolutely pitch-perfect Indy action and adventure. Of course, archaeologists around the world have been trying to ride Indy’s coattails to the top, with mixed successes. One article that I found very interesting was Archaeology Magazine’s investigation into the actual crystal skulls that inspired the legend that is at the core of the film. It’s a fun read, with some good links. Given my macabre tastes, it shouldn’t surprise either of you that one of my favorite parts of the inset note and photo about the French obsession with skeletal images, either! Now, if only going to see Indiana Jones movies somehow made me work on my dissertation faster…

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I Have a Small Brain…

April 28, 2008 at 11:38 am (Economics, History, Writing)

…so I love it when really smart people come up with really simple explanations for apparently very complex problems. Case in point: NPR on the current credit crisis, specifically why people just don’t seem to save money. I strongly suggest you listen to the article, rather than just read the synopsis, since it is, in fact, only a synopsis, and (as that name might suggest) leaves out some of the most interesting and compelling details. Read the rest of this entry »

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Survival of the Poorest

April 20, 2008 at 6:04 pm (Comics, Economics, Education, Environment, History, Horror, Wine)

I was thinking today about what would happen to our society if we ran out of oil, and therefore could not afford to transport food between cities, states and nations the way that we currently do, and it occurred to me that the wealthiest people in the world, those inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere who have embraced the economic promise of cities and the specialization of labor, will be the group most affected, and hardest hit, by said (still hopefully hypothetical) collapse. After all, the bulk of the world’s population is much closer to the land than your average Angelino, and is either capable of, or knows people who are capable of, large-scale agriculture, animal husbandry, and other activities associated with pre-industrial human life. It’s only us city-slickers, who are used to our frozen pizzas and two-dollar lattes, who will find ourselves suddenly without food when the crash comes. Although that’s kind of terrifying, since I am one of those city-slickers, it’s also kind of heartening, since it means that, whatever happens to the population of North America, humanity will almost certainly survive and prosper somewhere else, whether it be Africa, Asia, Australia or elsewhere.
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World Enough and Time…

March 26, 2008 at 4:34 pm (Diving, Education, History, Travel)

Just when I thought that all of the great ancient voyages had been replicated, some visionary (and presumably financially well-connected) Brit has to go and prove me wrong. Sigh. If only I (a) didn’t have a baby on the way (not that I’d trade that in for anything) and (b) didn’t get seasick by stepping within fifteen feet of a boat. But it sounds like a grand adventure, doesn’t it?

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In Memoriam

March 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm (Books, Comics, History, Horror, Languages, Movies, Travel)

It saddens me greatly to think that we have lost two of the greatest minds in the history of science fiction and fantasy in the last two weeks. On March 4, Gary Gygax passed away, and then, just two days ago, Arthur C. Clarke died in Sri Lanka. Arthur C. Clarke, I must confess, never made that significant of an impact on me, although I recognize his influence on the field of science fiction and, frankly, science. I’ve only actually read one of his books, Rama Revealed (which was an excellent novel, although it will also make you loathe the base nature of the human race), and I’ve only seen 2001: A Space Odyssey once. However, he fell into the brilliant class of authors who wrote what is called “hard science fiction,” that is, sci-fi that is firmly tied into what we know/believe to be possible, and was quite a visionary: For example, he was the first person to suggest the system of communication satellites which currently orbit the Earth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Revisionist History

March 11, 2008 at 7:38 pm (Comics, History, Humor, Movies, Music)

As I have only two readers, I’m trying to be more sensitive to your tastes in what I post. Unfortunately, your tastes differ dramatically. ;o) So, Shannon, I’m warning you in advance that this particular Youtube video will probably NOT be your cup of tea, and I’d suggest keeping the kids away from it, too. Mary, you’ll love this. It is a… somewhat novel take on our dear first president, George Washington, and is solidly one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

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Wartime Espionage Is Always Fun

March 10, 2008 at 10:43 am (History, Movies)

Last night, Heather and I watched Black Book, a Dutch film set during the end of WWII. Although I’m the person who put this in our Netflix queue, I actually didn’t really want to see it. I’d heard it was good, I knew it would have some German in it, and I figured, what the heck, let’s pretend we’re cultured. I had no desire to see what I assumed was a tragic period romance/drama of lost love and destroyed dreams.
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Classical Cartoons

February 28, 2008 at 9:11 pm (Arts, Computers, Education, History, Movies)

Good things come from Down Under. A friend of mine recently showed me this educational website from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Focusing on Ancient Greece and Greek mythology, the site has games, activities, cartoons and resources aimed at kids ages 6-12. However, the videos themselves are at least as entertaining for adults as they are for kids! I especially liked their take on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, which casts Orpheus as an indie rocker, and the whole quest as a music video. Click on the link for “Storytime,” then on the link for “Orpheus and the underworld.” If you actually read this blog, then I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it. :o)

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