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August 06 2014


March 23 2014


March 03 2014


January 29 2014

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27 January 2014 Last updated at 19:43 ET
Frost fair: When an elephant walked on the frozen River Thames
By Tom de Castella BBC News Magazine

It is 200 years ago since the last “frost fair” - an impromptu festival on a frozen Thames, complete with dancing, skittles and temporary pubs. Could such hedonism be repeated today?

Londoners stood on the Thames eating gingerbread and sipping gin. The party on the frozen river had begun on 1 February and would carry on for another four days.

The ice was thick enough to support printing presses churning out souvenirs. Oxen were roasted in front of roaring fires, drink was liberally taken and dances were held. An elephant was marched across the river alongside Blackfriars Bridge.

It was February 1814. George III was on the throne, Lord Liverpool was prime minister and the Napoleonic wars would soon be won.

People didn’t know it then but this “frost fair” - a cross between a Christmas market, circus and illegal rave - would be the last. In the 200 years that have elapsed since, the Thames has never frozen solid enough for such hedonism to be repeated.

But between 1309 and 1814, the Thames froze at least 23 times and on five of these occasions -1683-4, 1716, 1739-40, 1789 and 1814 - the ice was thick enough to hold a fair. …

January 14 2014

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Onna-Bugeisha: Japan, 19th Century (via Imgur)

“An onna-bugeisha (女武芸者) was a type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese upper class. Many wives, widows, daughters, and rebels answered the call of duty by engaging in battle, commonly alongside samurai men. They were members of the bushi(samurai) class in feudal Japan and were trained in the use of weapons to protect their household, family, and honor in times of war. They also represented a divergence from the traditional “housewife” role of the Japanese woman. They are sometimes mistakenly referred to as female samurai, although this is an oversimplification. Onna bugeisha were very important people in ancient Japan. Significant icons such as Empress JinguTomoe GozenNakano Takeko, and Hōjō Masako were all onna bugeisha who came to have a significant impact on Japan.” via Wikipedia

Reposted bymolotovcupcake molotovcupcake

January 11 2014

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A rare photo of a female samurai — and visual inspiration for a Monday morning.




Reposted bywtfpantera wtfpantera

October 30 2013


July 09 2013


The niece of the great Mongol leader, Kubla Khan, Princess Khutulun was described by Marco Polo as the greatest warrior in Khan’s army. She told her uncle she would marry any man who could wrestle her and win. If they lost they had to give her 100 horses.

She died unmarried with 10,000 horses.

(via Sandi Toksvig’s top 10 unsung heroines | Books |

This is how I want to die. Unmarried, with 10,000 horses. There is no other way now. 

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Reposted fromAi-Yo Ai-Yo viasiriusminerva siriusminerva

February 12 2013

1916/02/11 Emma Goldman, an anarchist, socialist and women's rights activist gets arrested for giving a lecture on birth control in New York. Instead of paying the $100 fine, she decides to spend 2 weeks in jail to have the opportunity to talk to those "rejected by community".

August 24 2012

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Horrifying, but hardly shocking.

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August 07 2012

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Australian writer whose TV series The Shock of the New took modern art to a mass audience

… I  described him in the Guardian once as writing the English of Shakespeare, Milton, Macaulay and Dame Edna Everage, and Hughes enjoyed the description. His prose was lithe, muscular and fast as a bunch of fives. He was incapable of writing the jargon of the art world, and consequently was treated by its mandarins with fear and loathing. Much he cared.

When he reached a mass audience for the first time in 1980 with his book and television series The Shock of the New, a history of modern art starting with the Eiffel Tower and graced with a title that still resounds in 100 later punning imitations, some of the BBC hierarchy greeted the proposal that Hughes should do the series with ill-favoured disdain. “Why a journalist?” they asked, remembering the urbanity of Lord Clark of Civilisation.

He gave them their answer with the best series of programmes about modern art yet made for television, low on theory, high on the the kind of epigrammatic judgment that condenses deep truths. Van Gogh, he said, “was the hinge on which 19th-century romanticism finally swung into 20th-century expressionism”. Jackson Pollock “evoked that peculiarly American landscape experience, Whitman’s ‘vast Something’, which was part of his natural heritage as a boy in Cody, Wyoming”. And his description of the cubism of Picasso and Braque still stands as the most coherent 10-page summary in the literature. …

(via Robert Hughes obituary | Books |

March 24 2011


Queen Marie of Romania / The Saturday Evening Post - 14 April 1934

by Marie, Queen of Rumania
The Saturday Evening Post, 1934

… Today I have learned that all periods of life are necessary for the forming of character and personality; joy is as indispensable as pain, but joy at the beginning ought to be stronger than pain, and those whose lives lie behind them must remember this and be glad when the young are happy, even if their joy is taken a little wildly. Character, like all things, must evolve; it is useless to imagine that the experience of others can help, retard or hasten this evolution. At best it can steady it, be a brake at the hour of peril. Youth has to skirt dangers, burn its fingers, has to be tempted, perhaps even to fall, so as finally to learn how to stand firm. …

…The fun of life is observation. The comic, the sad, the beautiful, the strange, the pathetic, the absurd—it all serves to amuse the eye, to interest the mind, to move the heart. Man or beast, flower or landscape, event or sensation, laughter and tears—all is of interest for anyone who lives with his every faculty, and the man who can only be stirred by great events, despising the interests every day offers, lives on the outside edge of life, not in its very heart. This, at least, is how I feel. …

… Royal or not royal, we are all equals before God; we are human beings; neither crown nor throne shields us from those passions and emotions peculiar to humanity. We stumble and fall, we cry out in pain or hope, we pursue illusions, we rejoice or lament, we climb, we aspire to greater heights, we believe in our strength, in our rights, and have to discover our weakness, have to learn to bear our defeats and to begin all over again; and through the good days and the bad runs that eternal little thread of hope—hope that one day we shall touch our ideal. …

March 23 2011


March 19 2011


A friend asked me......

Any idea why this particular mushroom has come to represent the entire concept of mushroom? A Google image search for “mushroom painting” yields a majority of A. muscaria-inspired images.


I can think of a few reasons why Amanita is everywhere. I can think of anthropological ones, mystically aligned ones, & some which are just silly.


1. This is the first hallucinogenic mushroom humans ever et, and it has had a profound effect. It has become an archetypal symbol (whose original meaning is mostly forgotten), even in the sad & uptight non-trippy cultures.


2. It’s so pretty!


3. Many theorize that life on this planet was seeded by comets. (All gardeners must love that theory!) Some varieties of fungus spores may be able to survive spaceflight.

A. Fungi may have been one of earth’s earliest lifeforms.

I. Hallucinogenic mushrooms may have helped form our brains.

a. They may be the source of human mysticism/spirituality.

B. We may be the far-off descendants of trippy space shrooms

I. Terence McKenna!

II. Santa Claus & his magic flying reindeer.


4. The largest organisms on our planet are vast, little-known (to non-mycologists) fungal colonies.

A. The bastards have grown so massive they’ve invaded our collective unconscious!1!!!!1!!

I. OMG!!! @_@


5. Humans are in actuality a hyper-exotic orchid species which requires - in any form - A. muscaria’s proximity.


6. Cavemen painted on the walls because they were tripping on A. muscaria

A. This is the origin of human art


7. Early Arctic Circle shamans ate Amanita & travel/led & spoke with The Spirits. This is the origin of temples & churches (Also please vide 3.a above)


8. Amanita grows damn near everywhere. It’s ubiquitous in art precisely because it’s ubiquitous!


9. God is actually Amanita muscaria (See all above & so below)


Number nine especially amuses me, because a far more ahem powerful argument can be made in favor of our Sun’s being God, and fungi prefer shade.

An Ancient Egyptian priest would naturally see no contradiction in that & insist they are both God. S/he would’ve programmed her/himself in finding and creating harmony & balance, not spotting contradictions & duality. [Gimme that old-time religion indeed, huh?]

March 17 2011


Erowid Psychoactive Amanitas Vault : History Overview

circa 5000-3000 BCE : The earliest evidence of Amanita muscaria use as an intoxicant is based on linguistic analysis of languages from northern Asia. Around 4000 BCE, the Uralic language split into two branches, both of which contain similar root words for inebriation. In some of these languages the root “pang” signifies both ‘intoxicated’ and the A. muscaria mushroom. These linguistic similarities suggest (but do not prove) that A. muscaria was known to be intoxicating before the languages split around 4000 BCE.

circa 1000-2000 BCE: Petroglyphs along the Pegtymel River which drains into the Arctic Ocean in north eastern Siberia “depict anthropomorphic figures with mushrooms appended to their heads.” The Pegtymel river area is currently inhabited by the modern Chukchi culture who are known to have used A. muscaria as a traditional inebriant. …


Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric, Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month for December 1999

This month’s fungus is an interesting one for many reasons. It is a very common mushroom in conifer areas all throughout the northern hemisphere. The color is highly variable, from bright red (A. muscaria var. muscaria), to orange to yellow (A. muscaria var. formosa) to white (A. muscaria var. alba), but there are always white patches on the cap— remnants of the universal veil that covered the button stage. There seems to be a geographical distribution in North America, with the red form being found mostly in the west and deep south, the orange form in the midwest and east, the yellow form mostly in the east, and the white form reportedly scattered throughout the country. They can grow to be quite large, up to a foot high with caps as big as dinner plates.

It’s called the fly agaric because in some regions little pieces of the mushroom are placed in milk to attract flies. The flies become inebriated and crash into walls and die. …


March 14 2011

via Merely Gifted, ornamentedbeing: Csar Nicholas II & King George V


Csar Nicholas II & King George V

Czar Nicholas II of Russia and King George V of England. Their portraits appear on many postage stamps and it is difficult to distinguish between the two men. Can you pick who’s who from this photo? The man on the left is the Czar: the uniforms may have fooled you but the royal cousins swapped them for the occasion!

It’s truly astonishing what inbreeding can do.
Tags: history
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