October 31, 2002

It was on Halloween 1926 that the great magician and escape artist Harry Houdini died. Newspaper clippings here. Houdini willed his extraordinary collection of papers to the Library of Congress of the United States; those papers now form the amazing Harry Houdini Collection. Be sure to check out the LOC's extra special Today in History for October 31 for all kinds of Halloween links.

October 30, 2002

Happy Halloween! That thoughtful fellow up there is an illustration from De Humani Corporis Fabrica by the great Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius. Published in 1543 the work was the first anatomy to be based on the actual dissection and examination of human cadavers. (You can see an illustration of one of Vesalius's early dissections here. That's Vesalius to the left of the cadaver performing the dissection.) It is still considered to be the cornerstone of modern anatomy and many consider it to be the point at which medicine became a science. There are several sites which feature copies of the De Fabrica including some nice scans at the University of Michigan. Daniel Garrison and Malcolm Hast at Northwestern are working on an annotated translation which looks like it will be fantastic.

Today also marks the beginning of the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico. During the next few days families and friends will be reunited with their departed loved ones. You can read about the meaning of Dia De Los Muertos at this site (be sure to visit the The Altar and The Cemetary). Also well worth a visit is this site which features 5th grade students drawings of the Day of the Dead.

Mike Stanfill, an illustrator and animator from Dallas has created an excellent Flash animation of Tom Lehrer's classic song The Elements. You can read more about the enigmatic Tom Lehrer here.

October 29, 2002

October 28, 2002

Herc! Herc!

harrumph! has posted an excellent Hercules sticker book that brings back so many memories. There's lots of info on The Mighty Hercules here.

Posters American Style is an awesome gallery of posters at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. There's some really great stuff in here. We'll be back later to share some of our favorites.

"When in Rome, should one actually do as the Romans do or is it all a farce?"
Noted Chicago Funnyman Kevin Guilfoile tackles this very tricky question for the Morning News.

October 24, 2002

The people in the above photographs do not exist. I created them using an amazing webamajig at Eric Myer Photography. Myer's page allows you to mix and match the upper and lower halves of different faces, mixing race, gender, age, and just about everything else to create composite people. It's incredible how well it works and definitely drives home the point that we're all one people. So, so cool.
(link via ambiguous)

October 22, 2002

Have you seen this painting? It's been stolen. The painting is 'The Lesson' by Canadian artist Eliza Griffiths. You can see more of her work at her site.

October 17, 2002

Gone to D.C. for 5 days. I'm going to stick to the downtown and stay away from the suburbs, that's for sure. If that isn't some kind of sea-change, I don't know what is.

It appears that Deep Fritz may have current world champion Vladimir Kramnik on the ropes at the Brains In Bahrain man versus computer chess match. Even worse it seems that Kramnik may be cracking a bit under the pressure. Analysts think he may have resigned a drawn position in game 6. C'mon Vladimir! You can beat it! It's just a stupid machine!

October 16, 2002

Henry David Thoreau in the October 1862 issue of The Atlantic - from the impossibly deep well that is The Atlantic Online. (Well...I'm sure that when Portage is 140 years old we'll have some decent stuff in our archives as well.).

• The photograph above is of a pile of stones that marks the site of Thoreau's cabin on Walden Pond. I found it at the excellent The Thoreau Reader site. Full texts, criticism, commentary, photographs, and lots more, all in an elegant, spare website. Great.

Congratulations to Friend-Of-Portage leuschke.org. Graham's excellent blog is the feature site on wanderlust. Way to go!

Well, at least we weren't #1.

It was very disturbing to learn that Portage is #3 on a Google search for encyclopedia britannica sucks. We love the Encyclopedia Britannica. In related news we have (probably due to our long, unexplained hiatus) dropped to the number 2 spot in a Google Search for portage. The pesky city of Portage, Michigan has moved to the coveted number one spot leaving Portage, Indiana to bring up the number 3 position. Don't worry we'll be back on top in no time.

Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry is set to bestow an Extraordinary Honorary Fellowship on the great Sherlock Holmes. Holmes, "the first detective to exploit chemical science as a means of detection" will be honoured for his contributions to chemistry and crimefighting.

Dr David Giachardi, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said today:

“Our particular interest is his love of chemistry, and the way that he
wielded such knowledge for the public good, employing it dispassionately and
analytically. He also embodied other personal traits that society seeks in
today’s law officers – personal rectitude and courage. Last month the Royal
Society of Chemistry honoured the achievements of Sir Alec Jeffreys, whose
work in the 1980s led to the employment of DNA fingerprinting in criminal
detection. But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, through Holmes, anticipated 120 years ago the utilisation of chemistry in the battle against crime."

BBC NEWS - Chemists honour Sherlock Holmes
Royal Society of Chemistry - News
(Inexplicably both the RSC and the BBC refer to Holmes as being a fictional character. How odd.)

There are almost innumerable Sherlock Holmes resources on the web. Two great starting points are Sherlockian.net and 221B Baker Street.org.

October 15, 2002

Beyond the Funnies: The History of Comics in English Canada and Quebec is an awesome new site at the National Library of Canada that documents the development of the comic book form in Canada from 1849 to the present. It's from the same people who brought us last years excellent Guardians of the North: The National Superhero in Canadian Comic-Book Art.
The site includes abundantly illustrated scholarly essays by John Bell on English Canadian comics and Michael Viau on French-Canadian comics. The Comics Gallery contains twenty-one complete issues (full size!) of some great Canadian comics (ten in english, eleven in french) including Portage faves Dishman, Quelques Pelures, and Reid Flemming: World's Toughest Milkman. (Even if you don't read French all that well you'll want to check out the Quebecois comics just for the beautiful drawings and design.) Comics aficinados will want to check out the exhaustive Related Sites page for a wealth of comics links. Some of Portage's favorite covers included Vortex #13, Yummy Fur #1, and Drawn and Quarterly #9.

October 09, 2002

Thanks to everyone who has written asking after the health of Portage, it's nice to know that the weblog is appreciated. There's been some major upheaval here at Portage lately, in fact here isn't even where it used to be, it's about 300 km southwest of there. Portage will return, perhaps even as early as tomorrow. - DW.

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