November 27, 2002

Wow. Winter's here. We had almost a foot of snow in Sarnia last night. Needless to say Jack the Dog couldn't wait to get going for a walk this morning, he was singing away like mad to celebrate the coming of the snows.

This excellent Flash toy is the best one we've seen in a long while. Just click on the horses, and start grooving.

(link via the always surprising mirabilis.ca, many of whose excellent posts we've been meaning to link and with whom we have apparently been twinned. )

November 26, 2002

According to today's particularly good Library of Congress Today in History it has been 60 years since the release of the film Casablanca. The LOC entry deftly weaves the history of the film with what was actually going on in Casablanca during 1942-43, namely the massive aerial bombardment of Operation Torch and the subsequent meeting of the Allies during the Casablanca Conference. It's really fascinating reading.

Lovers of Casablanca will be amazed by the collection of Casablancaiana at Vincent's Casablanca HomePage. Vincent has great collections of photographs (including the one above of a supremely degenerate looking Peter Lorre), audio and video clips, the script in .pdf format ... all kinds of stuff. We were especially impressed by his collection of Casablanca movie posters from different countries. (Our favorites were the ones from France and Spain.)

November 25, 2002

In general most of the weblogs we read have to do with photography, visual arts, exploration, and stuff of that nature. Today, however, we stumbled upon the weblog of Richard Winters, an emergency room physician in Fresno, CA. Richard's very interesting blog, richard[WINTERS], reminded us of the enormous potential for blogs to expose us to the day to day lives of all kinds of interesting people in many different fields of endeavour. We were particularly taken by an entry titled Don't Move The Beer. Oh, and Richard also took that super-cool photo of his wife and her father in front of the jellyfish at the Montery Bay Aquarium.

Rêveries d'un voyageur solitaire by Philippe Goy. One of many unusual photographs to be found at Short Photographic Poems.

November 21, 2002

In 1967 Canada hosted Expo67 in Montreal. Expo was a world's fair "of the first magnitude" which meant that it's mandate was to cover the whole scope of human achievement. Expo was a spectacular success, many say it was the last great World's Fair. People from all parts of Canada, and from around the world, visited Montreal, and for one great year the eyes of the world were on the, suddenly very modern and sexy, Canada.

Now the National Archives of Canada has opened its new Expo 67 site. While we at Portage have some concerns about the site design there are lots of great materials including photographs, documents, political cartoons, movies, and more. Some of our favorite things included:

  • Photographs of the major pavilions including Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome pavilion for the U.S.A. and Arthur Erickson's Canada pavilion.
  • Photos of visiting celebrities including Harry Belafonte, Bing Crosby, Robert Wagner & Senta Berger, Grace Kelly, and, our favorite photo, Maurice Chevalier with some friends.
  • Photos of all the different pavilion hostesses. If you haven't noticed yet Expo was a super-cool event, no schlepping around in shorts and t-shirts, everyone, it seems, wore sharp suits and no one had sharper suits than the hostesses.
  • Make sure not to skip over the Flash animation at the beginning, it's worth it.

    It's a pretty nice site and there's lots more there than it first appears, almost everything is clickable to get a full size archival photo, so have a good look around.

  • November 19, 2002

    The above photograph is from Constructing Europe: Transport, an exhibition documenting developments in transportation in Europe since the 1880s. There's some great photographs here including a manned flying kite, an early motorcycle gang, and even a submersible canoe. The exhibit is the first one I've seen from the exciting SEPIA (Safeguarding European Photographic Images for Access) project which is a multi-national European project devoted to conserving the photographic collections of Europe.

    Stones In My Pathway is a remarkable site by photographer Bill Steber which documents Blues Culture in Mississippi. Steber interprets Blues Culture to include "juke joints, cotton farming, sacred music, rural church services, river baptisms, folk religion and superstition, life on Parchman penitentiary, hill country African fife and drum music, and diverse regional blues styles." That seems like a pretty decent definition to us. In addition to the remarkable photographs and great site design Steber has included Real Audio clips of his commentary on the photographs and clips of some great blues songs by performers such as Junior Kimbrough and Robert "Bilbo" Walker. So be sure to click on the music note icon beside many of the photos.
    (link via visible darkness which has been excellent lately. Make sure to read Jeff's account of his chance meeting with Steber in 1996, it's really interesting. )

    November 18, 2002

    Imagine if the world really looked like it does as viewed through the eyes of the masters of Modern art. Then imagine that you were hammered. Now imagine that your reality changed with every drink you had. Stop imagining and visit the beautiful Kunstbar.
    (link via leuschke)

    November 16, 2002

    November 06, 2002

    This photograph is of 7 year old Julia Ann Crumpling who, in 1870, was sentenced to seven days hard labor in Oxford Gaol for stealing a baby carriage. We found it in the Crime & Punishment section of the Public Record Office's amazing Virtual Museum. They have some really neat stuff in there (including the thing we went looking for the confession of Guy Fawkes). Crime & Punishment is one of the eight sections of the museum. There's lots to see including the SOS telegram of the Titanic, Edward VIII's abdication letter, and a postcard from Jack the Ripper.

    November 05, 2002

    There's (almost) nothing we like better than a good scanning electron microscope site. We were so happy to find this site by David Walter at the University of Queensland which has some very nice scans of mites. As an added bonus we found the mite site on a great weblog, Dublog, that was new to us but which seems to share many of our interests. It's great. Another new weblog on our roll includes The Eyes Have It, which focuses on visual communications in the medical sciences.

    If, as many readers seemed to, you enjoyed last week's post about Vesalius and the De Humani Corporis Fabrica then you're bound to enjoy Dream Anatomy a fantastic new exhibit from the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C. The show details the history of anatomical illustration from 1500 to 2002. A central theme of the exhibit is the important role that the artistic imagination plays in such illustrations. There's some incredible stuff here most of which we'd never seen before. The whole exhibit is worth looking at, but if you just want to see the pictures you can go straight to the Gallery.The illustration above is by Fritz Kahn and is intended to demonstrate the effects of sunlight on the health of the body. You can see it here.
    (link via boingboing)

    Myths + Illusions is an excellent photoessay by Marc Rochette exploring the daily lives of several children with Down's syndrome.

    November 03, 2002


    William Clothier, 86, Spy and Tennis Star, Is Dead
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    VALLEY FORGE, Pa., Nov. 1 — William J. Clothier II, a former tennis star, international spy and grandson of the co-founder of the Strawbridge & Clothier department store chain in the Philadelphia area, died here on Oct. 19. He was 86.

    While Mr. Clothier won national tennis titles, he was also secretly a special agent for the F.B.I. and later worked for the C.I.A.

    Mr. Clothier, whose father, William J. Clothier, was a national singles champion, toured on the grass-court tennis circuit from 1934 to 1938. Together, the two won a national father-son title twice.

    In his government work, Mr. Clothier was an F.B.I. special agent in Peru, Cuba and Chile in World War II. He used his 1938 bachelor's degree in anthropology from Harvard as a cover. From 1952 to 1979, Mr. Clothier was a C.I.A. officer, gathering intelligence and aiding defectors.

    He received several awards for his service, including the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service from Peru.

    He is survived by his wife, Evelyn Baram-Clothier; a son, Morris; a daughter, Steffanie; a sister; and three grandchildren. His first wife, Irene Greif Clothier, died in 1990.

    Spy AND Tennis Star?! Is that cool or what?

    Magic Pencil: Children's Book Illustration Today is a very nice, although disappointingly small (the real life exhibit has over three hundred works, the virtual one has only the thirteen), website from The British Library examining the work of some of the top children's book illustrators working in Britain today. It's interesting to compare the modern works with these galleries (i, ii) (also from The BL of images from historic children's books.


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