med_cat: (cat in dress)

"She smiled at him very graciously when he was introduced to her."

From the chapter, "Princess Orchid's Party"

From the book "Fairies I Have Met" by Mrs. Rodolph Stawell, so beautifully illustrated by Edmund Dulac (French-born, British naturalised magazine illustrator, book illustrator and stamp designer, 1882-1953)

And here's the link to the entire book!
Somewhat related:

Mermaid Folktales: A 19th Century History

An idle inquiry:

Why are Kinder Surprise Eggs Banned in the United States, from "Today I found out"

...which led me to an interesting but very grim bit of history of medicine I'd not heard of before:

(caveat lector):

Sulfanilamide Disaster
Taste of Raspberries, Taste of Death
The 1937 Elixir Sulfanilamide Incident
, FDA Consumer magazine, June 1981

Modern psychopharmacology:

Why combination nootropics (aka "genius pills") are not a good idea
(thanks to [ profile] supergee for the link!)

Upcoming solar eclipse:

Eye Safety During Solar Eclipses, from NASA

Cats and Humans:

Saved, by a Whisker--a very nice cat story and more from Gene Weingarten, in this weekend's Washington Post Magazine

...and, of course, Sherlock Holmes:

A Guide to Writing Sherlockian Biscuit Habits, from the enigmaticpenguinofdeath's Tumblr
med_cat: (cat and books)
A 100% accurate, no lie, source proven conversation between Pope Clement VII & Henry VIII

Watch it here

(couldn't find a video that would embed here, sorry; hope the link works--please let me know if it doesn't)
med_cat: (cat in dress)

A medieval manuscript that was peed on by a cat

Scribe was forced to leave the rest of the page empty, drew a picture of a cat and cursed the creature with the following words:

“Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi cattie venire possunt.”

[Here is nothing missing, but a cat urinated on this during a certain night. Cursed be the pesty cat that urinated over this book during the night in Deventer and because of it many others [other cats] too. And beware well not to leave open books at night where cats can come.]

Cologne, Historisches Archiv, G.B. quarto, 249, fol. 68r

(from History Daily FB pg)
med_cat: (cat and books)
Little girl takes hamster who hasn't moved in days to vet - who makes a very odd discovery

Life would be a lot easier - and interesting - if our pets could talk.
As it is, we have to try and guess what's ailing our furry friends when we sense something is amiss.

No one, however - not even an rodent expert - could have guessed what was wrong with one worried little girl's hamster when she took it in to see the vet.


Scientists found 2 new primates, and they look like the best 'Star Wars' character.

This Awesome Periodic Table Tells You How to Actually Use All Those Elements

(you can download a printable version, too)


A Critical Look at "Dr." Robert Young's Theories and Credentials, which also explains in lay terms why all those "excess acidity in your blood is the cause for 99% of all illnesses" claims are utter nonsense.

A bit of retro-futurism:

How Soviet Artists Imagined Communist Life in Space

Vocabulary, reading, and writing:

The Grandiloquent Word of the Day 2018 Wall Calendar--take a look at some sample pages, and perhaps even make a pledge? ;)

Medieval Women Writers

A Guide to Writing Sherlockian Tea Habits

British Idioms, from Agatha Christie's Works
here they are: )
Applied psychology:

5 things I didn't want to hear when I was grieving and 1 thing that helped.

(nothing earth-shattering, but well-written)

Maryland attractions:

North Beach: Exploring a Local Gem
med_cat: (woman reading)

It’s Fun fact Friday!

A chocolate bar most of us are not old enough to know about with a taste few cared for and was even called “Hitler’s Secret Weapon” by many infantrymen.

“The D ration bar”.

Developed by Hershey in 1937 at the request of the Army Quartermasters office had four requirements: a bar weighing about 4 ounces, able to withstand high temperatures, be high in food energy value, and with a taste that was just a little better than a boiled potato.

The reasoning for the latter was to prevent them from being eaten as snack so they would be kept and used as an emergency food source. The blend of chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk powder and oat flour was so thick that it did not flow like conventional chocolate and had to be hand packed into each mold.

Most who ate it said they would have rather eaten the boiled potato. Because the bar was designed to withstand high temperatures, it was nearly impossible to bite into, requiring the men to shave off slices before they could chew it, and the sugar did little to mask the bitter taste of the dark chocolate.

Despite this, Hershey produced about 3 billion (yes with a B) of these bars between 1940 and 1945 receiving numerous awards for their outstanding war effort. Until next Friday – Have a sweet week.

(from the Old Town Candy shop on FB, May 5th)
med_cat: (woman reading)
A historical perspective on presidential elections, by Gene Weingarten; his April 23rd "Below the Beltway" column, from The Washington Post

For today

Apr. 23rd, 2017 07:06 am
med_cat: (Hourglass)

A Mighty Girl

A major figure in the French Resistance during WWII, Andrée Peel, was one of the most highly decorated woman to survive the war. Known as "Agent Rose," she helped save countless lives, including over 100 British and American pilots shot down over France.

Read more... )

med_cat: (Hourglass)
Originally posted by [ profile] duathir at Margaret Atwood, 'Sekhmet the Lion-headed Goddess of War'
Sekhmet, the Lion-Headed Goddess of War, Violent Storms, Pestilence, and Recovery from Illness, Contemplates the Desert in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He was the sort of man
who wouldn't hurt a fly.

Many flies are now alive
while he is not.

He was not my patron.

He preferred full granaries, I battle.

My roar meant slaughter.

Yet here we are together
in the same museum.

That's not what I see, though, the fitful
crowds of staring children
learning the lesson of multi-
cultural obliteration, sic transit
and so on.

I see the temple where I was born
or built, where I held power.

I see the desert beyond,
where the hot conical tombs, that look
from a distance, frankly, like dunces' hats,
hide my jokes: the dried-out flesh
and bones, the wooden boats
in which the dead sail endlessly
in no direction.

What did you expect from gods
with animal heads?
Though come to think of it
the ones made later, who were fully human
were not such good news either.

Favour me and give me riches,
destroy my enemies.

That seems to be the gist.

Oh yes: And save me from death. )

by Margaret Atwood
med_cat: (woman reading)
News and Politics:

Robert Reich: Republicans Are Afraid Trump Is Genuinely Nuts:
The former secretary of labor reflects on a Washington more divided and fearful than ever.

(thanks to [ profile] elenbarathi)

The Westminster attack is a tragedy, but it’s not a threat to democracy, by Simon Jenkins

The terrorists’ aim is not just to kill a few but to terrify a multitude. For politicians and media to overreact would play into their hands.

(thanks to [ profile] lindahoyland for this one)

Languages, History, and Literature:

15 Encouraging Spanish Phrases a Bilingual Spanish Speaker Would Like Everyone to Learn

The Coolest Things You Wish Were True About the Middle Ages

The Crows of Pearblossom, by Aldous Huxley--the only children's book he wrote. The illustrations are quite charming as well.
med_cat: (woman reading)
#WhanThatAprilleDay17--to be held on April 20th this year; do take a look at the article, it is very amusing!

And some recent tweets from the same author:

Roses are redde
Pegasus unicorns have winges
May everye part of the universe protect
Al those who nerdily love obscure thinges

Look at the worlde from but one view
How deadened - al thinges are -
But chaunge thy thought - and questioun new:
Yt sparkleth - lyke a star

Lat us go to a beautiful place at eve
And talke, and singe, and daunce;
Even thogh the dayes be darke
We yet retayne romaunce.
med_cat: (woman reading)
See below for excerpts; click article titles for full articles.

...Does anyone here know more about this cyclical theory of history? What do you think of it? This article presents a different opinion.

Cyclical models of history are something academics kick around every now and then, said Sean Wilentz, an American history professor at Princeton University. But the idea has not caught on among historians or political actors.

“It’s just a conceit. It’s a fiction, it’s all made up,” Wilentz said about cyclical historical models. “There’s nothing to them. They’re just inventions.”

Michael Lind, a historian and co-founder of the New America Foundation, a liberal think tank, has called Strauss and Howe’s work “pseudoscience” and said their “predictions about the American future turn out to be as vague as those of fortune cookies.”


President Trump wants to put on a show. Governing matters less.

Last spring, while reporting The Washington Post’s biography of Donald Trump, I asked an executive who had worked for Trump for more than three decades to help me understand a central contradiction about the man: How could he be at once the micromanager who in the 1980s would call an employee at 2 a.m. and order her out of bed to clean up litter he’d noticed in the lobby of one of his buildings, and also the boss who was so detached that he claimed to be ignorant of his hotels’ finances as they fell into bankruptcy?

The executive offered this guidance: “If you’re ever confused about Trump’s motives, go to showman first.” The building lobby was a showcase for the Trump brand, requiring the close attention of the man behind the name; the finances were backstage stuff, easily ignored.

Where did Steve Bannon get his worldview? From my book.

Beyond ideology, I think there’s another reason for the rising interest in our book. We reject the deep premise of modern Western historians that social time is either linear (continuous progress or decline) or chaotic (too complex to reveal any direction). Instead we adopt the insight of nearly all traditional societies: that social time is a recurring cycle in which events become meaningful only to the extent that they are what philosopher Mircea Eliade calls “reenactments.” In cyclical space, once you strip away the extraneous accidents and technology, you are left with only a limited number of social moods, which tend to recur in a fixed order.

Along this cycle, we can identify four “turnings” that each last about 20 years — the length of a generation. Think of these as recurring seasons, starting with spring and ending with winter. In every turning, a new generation is born and each older generation ages into its next phase of life.

The cycle begins with the First Turning, a “High” which comes after a crisis era. In a High, institutions are strong and individualism is weak. Society is confident about where it wants to go collectively, even if many feel stifled by the prevailing conformity. Many Americans alive today can recall the post-World War II American High (historian William O’Neill’s term), coinciding with the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies. Earlier examples are the post-Civil War Victorian High of industrial growth and stable families, and the post-Constitution High of Democratic Republicanism and Era of Good Feelings.

The Second Turning is an “Awakening,” when institutions are attacked in the name of higher principles and deeper values. Just when society is hitting its high tide of public progress, people suddenly tire of all the social discipline and want to recapture a sense of personal authenticity. Salvation by faith, not works, is the youth rallying cry. One such era was the Consciousness Revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s. Some historians call this America’s Fourth or Fifth Great Awakening, depending on whether they start the count in the 17th century with John Winthrop or the 18th century with Jonathan Edwards.

The Third Turning is an “Unraveling,” in many ways the opposite of the High. Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. Third Turning decades such as the 1990s, the 1920s and the 1850s are notorious for their cynicism, bad manners and weak civic authority. Government typically shrinks, and speculative manias, when they occur, are delirious.

Finally, the Fourth Turning is a “Crisis” period. This is when our institutional life is reconstructed from the ground up, always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival. If history does not produce such an urgent threat, Fourth Turning leaders will invariably find one — and may even fabricate one — to mobilize collective action. Civic authority revives, and people and groups begin to pitch in as participants in a larger community. As these Promethean bursts of civic effort reach their resolution, Fourth Turnings refresh and redefine our national identity. The years 1945, 1865 and 1794 all capped eras constituting new “founding moments” in American history.

Just as a Second Turning reshapes our inner world (of values, culture and religion), a Fourth Turning reshapes our outer world (of politics, economy and empire)
med_cat: (Hourglass)
Someone pointed this out to me, and I thought [ profile] duathir and others interested in WWI might also like to take a look:

Today we gathered in the beautiful hamlet of Meavy in Devon, in the rain, for the unveiling of the war memorial that now has young Kitty Trevelyan’s name on it. Kitty went to France in WW1 and was employed as a civilian worker with Army Canteens. After contracting Measles then developing Pneumonia sadly she died at just age 19. She is buried in Wimereaux Cemetery in Pais De Calais, France. Kitty died on 27th February 1917, 100 years ago tomorrow!

(click the hyperlink for more info and photos)
med_cat: (woman reading)

("My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require." ~Edward Elgar)

On this day 23 February 1934 Edward Elgar, English composer, died. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches.

Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM GCVO, was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924.

Although Elgar is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Roman Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he was acutely sensitive about his humble origins even after he achieved recognition. He nevertheless married the daughter of a senior British army officer. She inspired him both musically and socially, but he struggled to achieve success until his forties, when after a series of moderately successful works his Enigma Variations (1899) became immediately popular in Britain and overseas. He followed the Variations with a choral work, The Dream of Gerontius (1900), based on a Roman Catholic text that caused some disquiet in the Anglican establishment in Britain, but it became, and has remained, a core repertory work in Britain and elsewhere. His later full-length religious choral works were well received but have not entered the regular repertory.

In his fifties, Elgar composed a symphony and a violin concerto that were immensely successful. His second symphony and his cello concerto did not gain immediate public popularity and took many years to achieve a regular place in the concert repertory of British orchestras. Elgar's music came, in his later years, to be seen as appealing chiefly to British audiences. His stock remained low for a generation after his death. It began to revive significantly in the 1960s, helped by new recordings of his works. Some of his works have, in recent years, been taken up again internationally, but the music continues to be played more in Britain than elsewhere.

Elgar has been described as the first composer to take the gramophone seriously. Between 1914 and 1925, he conducted a series of acoustic recordings of his works. The introduction of the microphone in 1925 made far more accurate sound reproduction possible, and Elgar made new recordings of most of his major orchestral works and excerpts from The Dream of Gerontius.

Pomp and Circumstance:

(from HistoryUK FB pg)

med_cat: (cat in dress)
"Apparently I've been shopping in all the wrong places for drugs, and all the right places for candy."

@RoyKesey tweeting after President Trump said during his Thursday news condference that our country is "drug-infested," and that "drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars."

His statement led some, such as Twitter user @anchorlines, to ask, "How much does Trump think a candy bar costs?"

(The Washington Post Express, 2/17/2017)

What if Caesar, Churchill and Custer could have tweeted like Trump?

(The Washington Post, 2/17/2017)

A small excerpt below, do take a look at the article for the complete set, in chronological order:

Pharaoh, 1446 B.C.:

“Israelites had to come up with story as to why they were enslaved so long and so badly (400 years) so they made up a story — GOD. Fake news!”

Priam, king of Troy, 1200 B.C.:

“Cassandra says the horse shouldn’t come in the city gates. She’s been losing so long she doesn’t know how to win. Not me!”

Julius Caesar, 44 B.C.:

“Do you believe it? Wife had bad dream, says I can’t go to Senate because I will be murdered. Ridiculous and will be overturned!”

Napoleon, 1812:

“My so-called advisers warning of famine, dysentery, typhus if I invade Russia. Lies! Only emboldens the enemy!”
med_cat: (woman reading)
Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog!

And Donaeld the Unready hath a Twitter account!

Check these out, do :)

Also, I love the name of the Twitter account; it reminded me of this...

"I suppose your ancestors often entertained royalty at Manderley, Mr. de Winter?"
"Not since Ethelred," he said, "the one who was called Unready. In fact, it was while staying with my family that the name was given him. He was invariably late for dinner."

Many thanks to [ profile] supergee for the links.
med_cat: (cat in dress)
It’s Fun Fact Friday! During the Victorian Era, Chocolate was all the rage among the Upper class and John Cadbury was a major supplier in Birmingham, England. In 1861 John’s sons Richard & George joined the company bringing innovations to the company.

Richard came up with the idea of selling their “Fancy Chocolates” better known today as “Assortments” in decorated boxes.
During this era fancy boxes were often saved and used to store small items, such as buttons.
This year, if you receive a heart shaped box of Chocolate for Valentine’s day, take time to reflect on the Legacy that Cadbury’s fancy little boxes forever left on boxed chocolates. Until next Friday – Have a sweet week.

(from Old Town Candy, on FB)
med_cat: (woman reading)
A Vision of January 4th

Lying on my couch a night or two ago,
I had a solemn vision of penitential woe;
Of that great time of fasting and of humiliation
Proposed by pious James unto our sinful nation.

All the stores were closed, the whole length of Broadway,
As on that great occasion, the Prince's procession day,
And the solemn chimes of Trinity through the air began to swim,
Tolling the grand Old Hundred and Luther's Judgment Hymn.

Ah, soon the great procession moved slowly from the Park;
'Twas headed by the Mayor, and brought up by men of mark,
Barefooted marched through mingled mud and snow;
Girdled with rope, and ashes-strewn, and clad in weeds of woe.

There were some Republican leaders, feeling very blue indeed,
That their party, after hard fighting, had the ill luck to succeed;
They were all for "conciliation," "concession," and "compromises;"
Hungry to eat their own words and back out of their own devices.

Read more... )


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