jump to navigation
  • Killer Snake Wheels November 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Killer Snake Wheels

    Beach has just had a glorious meal but before going back to table he wanted to share this great snake urban legend: as regular readers will know snakes are a favourite subject. This comes from Pol and Fisher’s Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet. How can anyone […]

    The Ghost that Sat on my Chest October 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    The Ghost that Sat on my Chest

    A few days ago Beach had some Tripadvisor hotel fun looking at the variety of ghost/haunting/poltergeist experiences reported there. What most impressed him from his small sample was the number of incidents when the witnesses felt something pressing down on them. Two of these hauntings were quoted then, the rest are new. All italics Beach’s […]

    The Unquiet Dead September 28, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    The Unquiet Dead

    The unquiet dead. One put his head on a railway line and was decapitated by an obliging train. One was stabbed between twenty and thirty times by her ex boyfriend. The third was drowned in a canoeing accident late one night. These three incidents are the closest that Beach has come to violent death. Happily […]

    Italians in the Wind September 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Italians in the Wind

    Italy has a long history of emigration. Between 1869 and 1939 eighteen and a half million Italians left their home country, travelling to all corners of the world. After the Second World War emigration started up again, particularly towards northern Europe, and there was massive internal migration as five million southern Italians came to the […]

    Lying Periodicals? August 30, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Lying Periodicals?

    Academics and serious historians get very worked up about publication dates. It is important to know, for example, whether, a publication on the Arab world was published before or after 11 Sept 2001; it is important to know whether bold new research (a) came before or after bold new research (b). Most of us can […]

    Bending Towards Justice August 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Bending Towards Justice

    ‘The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.’ This quotation is one that has followed Beach around for the last few years. It is the favourite sentence of a dear friend and often appears in the media. It was first said by a man of immense moral stature: Theodore Parker […]

    Intelligence vs Wisdom in Public Debate July 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Intelligence vs Wisdom in Public Debate

    Beach has previously railed against the tyranny of experts, pointing out that experts should be proffered as much respect as they have knowledge of their field: a dentist knows a lot more about teeth than a neurologist knows about the brain; a garage mechanic knows a lot more about cars than a sociologist knows about […]

    Twin Countries July 10, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Twin Countries

    This is an idea that has been going around and around in Beach’s head for a few years, the way that certain pairs of countries seem to have a strange sense of reciprocated fascination with each other. Three examples from Europe: Ireland and Germany; France and Poland; Italy and Britain. All these pairings include an […]

    Referendum Day June 23, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    Referendum Day

    Tony, Where Are Your Footnotes?! April 25, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Tony, Where Are Your Footnotes?!

    Tony Judt’s Postwar (2005) is one of the most important history books of the last generation. However, the book that runs to over eight hundred pages has a strange lacuna. It lacks notes and it lacks bibliography. Judt was quite open about this lack of reference apparatus and explains it in his introduction (in a […]

    History by Kilowat: Humanity Glimpsed from Space January 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    History by Kilowat: Humanity Glimpsed from Space

    ‘The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day, we were aware of only one Earth.’ Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud These sentiments do Sultan bin Salman credit, but the earth at night is rather less democratic than the […]

    Cellphones and the Paranormal January 12, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Cellphones and the Paranormal

    Beach this last weekend enjoyed re-reading one of the greatest books ever written on the supernatural, Andrew Lang’s Cock Lane and Common-Sense (1894). Lang, an extremely learned Victorian Scot, has a simple position. There are, he believed, a core of paranormal experiences that repeat themselves in every culture at every time: invisible knocking, levitation, throwing […]

    The World in 2030: Predictions January 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    The World in 2030: Predictions

    Perhaps the most interesting read this Christmas were the CIA’s predictions, in 2000, for 2015. Fifteen years ago a lot of very intelligent men and women sat down, chewed the geo-political cud and they still got a good deal wrong. Here in 2015 Beach thought that he would go with his gut on a series of […]

    How to Get Rid of a Poltergeist December 30, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    How to Get Rid of a Poltergeist

    James McClenon is a sociologist who has written on the paranormal and parapsychology. His books are to be recommended in the highest terms, not just for their arguments, put perhaps most of all for their reasonable yet never irritating openness to the unexplained; something which does not offend even a hoary old materialist like Beach. […]

    History, Ignorance and American University Students December 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    History, Ignorance and American University Students

    How well do American and European secondary schools train children in history? Beach is a world-weary type and so is rarely surprised by just how badly his students do: but he does sometimes find himself wondering whether we couldn’t do better. Here is a nice example of the low levels of general knowledge among university […]

    Page 1 of 1112345...10...Last »