Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The well dressed Turk, circa 1865

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These watercolors from the 19th century show clothes that were current fashions in the Ottoman empire. The works, likely a copy from earlier paintings, were given to Tsar Alexander III when he was a young man as part of his education. 

Theses images, and those after the jump, are from Public Domain's post 19th-Century Album of Ottoman Fashion, which has more examples, as well as a discussion of how Ottoman fashions influenced European dress and costumes back in the day. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

16 Tons


I used to do a regular series of posts called Monday morning, start of the work week blues. This post is not a return to that, but when I stumbled across the above version of the song popularized by Tennessee Ernie Ford it reminded me of that old series. The song certainly would have fit.

16 Tons was written by Merle Travis, who came from a coal mining family. From Wikipedia: "The line 'You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt' came from a letter written by Travis's brother John. Another line came from their father, a coal miner, who would say: 'I can't afford to die. I owe my soul to the company store.'"

Below are the lyrics to the song. Have a Happy Monday morning worker bees.

Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man's made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong

You load 16 tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter don't you call me, 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded 16 tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said, "Well, a-bless my soul"

You load 16 tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter don't you call me, 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain
Fightin' and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion
Can't no high toned woman make me walk the line

You load 16 tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter don't you call me, 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't get you
Then the left one will

You load 16 tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter don't you call me, 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Night ride on a tram in Lisbon

There are a number of YouTube videos about the trams in Lisbon. I like this night ride. However, the videos shot during the give a better idea of of how these trams operate in traffic. It is interesting how the tram lines are worked into the narrow, twisty roads that were laid out in an older Lisbon. Of course, modern cars are a further complication.


Monday, April 19, 2021

That empty space

Getsuya Sansui by Hashimoto Gahō

Now’s the time to close the outer door to yearning - Ryu Shiva

In order to forget the world,
I went up to the mountain
But the water is flowing down
Toward the world
Like there is something to toss
As though there is something that must be tossed
I alone am going up the mountain

Like there is something to fill
As though there is an empty place that needs to be filled
The water keeps going down
To the world below

Now is the time to close the outer door to yearning
To close my eyes,
To go inside myself
To gaze at the sparkling water
Undulating in that empty space.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Printing Kalamkari patterns on fabric

Kalamkari is a method of dying patterns onto fabrics. In its original form the patterns were hand painted on using natural dyes. However, the patterns can also be added, as demonstrated in the above video, by block printing. In the video it was impressive how quickly the stencils were aligned to apply the two different dyes to the pattern.

Utsavpedia's article Kalamkari explains the history and steps needed to create the fabric artwork. If you want to buy some of the fabric, you can search Duckduckgo and find many suppliers. Below are some examples of earlier and more elaborate Kalamkari pieces.

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

The nocturnal paintings of John Atkinson Grimshaw

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John Atkinson Grimshaw was a Victorian painter who is best known for his atmospheric landscape paintings lit only by moonlight and gas lamps. He was a self-taught artist. Also a photographer he used a camera obscura to project his scenes and get the perspective correct. During his life he was criticized for that, although one of his many admirers was the American Artist James Whistler, who admired Grimshaw's use of color and shadow. 

At the above Grimshaw link there are more examples of his work, including some daylight painting as well as a few rather goofy fairy paintings that were so beloved by the English Victorians. 

John Atkinson Grimshaw

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Walking in Buenos Aires

The video starts out in the Librería Grand Splendid, an amazing looking bookstore in an old theater. After a brief tour of it, the walker moves to the streets of a business district in downtown Buenos Aires. Some nice old buildings mixed in.


Monday, April 05, 2021

The awakening

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The Barbarian hopes — and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too. He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being. Discipline seems to him irrational, on which account he is ever marveling that civilization, should have offended him with priests and soldiers.... In a word, the Barbarian is discoverable everywhere in this, that he cannot make: that he can befog and destroy but that he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true.

We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles.

― Hilaire Belloc


Saturday, April 03, 2021

Happy Easter


Above is an old-timey Victorian Easter card. I'm not sure what the connection between Easter and gentlemen rabbits dueling while mounted on chickens is, but I'm sure there is a good reason for it all. Or maybe not. Regardless, have a good Easter.