Friday, March 31, 2023

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Art of the Franco-Prussian War

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In 1870 Otto von Bismark maneuvered to place Prince Lepold on the Spanish throne. This created a crisis in France because they felt it would have led to them being surrounded by a Prussian/Spanish alliance. Leopold's name was withdrawn, but the crisis simmered. 

In July of 1870 the French, believing they had a much better equipped army, declared war on Prussia. Alas for the French, the Prussians mobilized much quicker and pushed into France. By September the Prussians were besieging Paris. The French government collapsed and the resulting treaty ending the war resulted in the French paying an indemnity to Prussia as well as ceding Alsace and part of Lorraine (one of the grievances that was to lead to WWI). The war also unified Prussia with southern German states, which led to modern Germany. 

These are paintings from that war. They were done after the war and some of them give the 19th Century romantic version of war as a noble thing, Others, at least from the German perspective, commemorated victories. The French paintings tended to nurture grievances that were to fester. 

There are more images after the jump. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

My Caribbean cruise

Above is a video touring the Star Clipper. I was on its sister ship the Star Flyer. They appear to be more-or-less identical. I've never really been interested in taking a cruise; stage shows, casinos, bars scattered hither and yon and thousands of fellow passengers don't appeal to me. However, this was a small boat (there were about 140 passengers on the cruise), so I caved into Ms Sinistral's wishes and gave it a try.

We sailed along the Windward Islands stopping here and there. Before the cruise I was cynical enough to expect that masts to be mainly cosmetic, but they actually sailed the boat. I would guess that over 90% of the time we were under sail rather than power. It was interesting seeing how the sails were rigged and handled.

Below is a video of the fellow's stateroom. Mine was laid out a little differently, but it was the same size. Like him, I too was on the bottom deck, I joked that we were traveling in steerage.

All in all it was a relaxing trip. I would recommend it.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Chi Bol

Get ready for a gormandized weekend with Noubold featuring 290.


Wednesday, March 22, 2023


When you use bronze as a mirror, you can straighten your clothes and hat. When you use antiquity as a mirror, you can see the waxing and waning. When you use a person as a mirror, you can know if you grasp things or not. - Taizong


Sunday, March 19, 2023

HMS Victory

This video is a tour of the HMS Victory using 3D modeling. It's nice in that it doesn't fixate on the rigging of the ship, rather it gives a tour of the decks. It gives a good idea of how complex yet still functional the design and layout of the ship was.


Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Old airline ads

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These are a collection of mid 20th century airline ads. They are from an era when air travel was more exotic than it is today. It would be slightly gauche to not wear a suit or dress. They started by emphasizing the reach of airplanes, but eventually moved on to targeting other groups of travelers than the early adopters: older people, single woman, families, businessmen and so forth.

They are taken from the Duke Library's Transportation Archive

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Stop-motion ninja puppet battle

Above is a video of an animated battle featuring Hidari Jingorō, who was a famous Japanese sculptor from the Edo period. He may, or may not, have been an actual person. There are many stories surrounding him. Apparently, he was missing his right hand and one of the stories is that rival sculptors, jealous of his skills, hacked it off. I think that's what this stop-motion film memorializes.

Video via Spoon and Tamago.


Friday, March 10, 2023

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Korean comfort food

As I recover from the Wuhan Flu I've been subsisting on bread, crackers, water and coffee. Above is a video of Koran comfort food. I'll be damned if I know what it is, but maybe I would be eating it if I were sick in Seoul. Or maybe not. As an extra, below are drinks from a beach somewhere in Korea.

Sunday, March 05, 2023


Click any image to enlarge

One of the effects this bout of the Wuhan Flu has had on me is sapping all of my energy. My lethargy is off the charts. So, to reflect my state, I pulled together this collection of paintings of people sleeping or idling about. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Now I'm sick

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I got sick on the tail end of my trip. When I tested myself I have covid, bleh. Aching, coughing and a general apathy. So, things will still be slow here for a bit.