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  • Plato’s Atlantis Before Plato December 5, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Plato's Atlantis Before Plato

    Ah Atlantis… Say the word to a marine biologist, whose marriage has just ended, or a billionaire at a loose end and the chances are that they will go running off and find Plato’s mysterious continent in Bolivia or Ireland… Indeed, almost every region, island and country in the western hemisphere – including Bolivia and Ireland… […]

    Image: Arresting Trouble December 4, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Image: Arresting Trouble

    The Beachcombing family has been shook tonight by phantom (?) contractions and Mrs B. is  upstairs wondering whether or not she is about to give birth. Beachcombing is a nursing a frullato downstairs confident that the baby is still a month away. But then Beachcombing is wrong about almost everything and that leads him nicely to […]

    The Crocodile, the Dog and the Wardrobe December 3, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Crocodile, the Dog and the Wardrobe

    Beachcombing always enjoys the passion with which nineteenth-century naturalists captured and then observed their prey, from sugaring early gas lamps to taking out the rifle whenever a rare bird flew into their garden. He particularly enjoyed this passage (just sent in by a correspondent) from the works of that German polymath Alexander von Humboldt (1859), […]

    Review: The Folio Book of Historical Mysteries December 2, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    Review: The Folio Book of Historical Mysteries

    The Folio Society, for those who don’t know, is a British publishing company that produces high-quality editions of high-quality titles and their books are reasonably priced for what they are – slipcases, hand-stitching…. These books cannot – there is always a catch – be bought individually (at least not first-hand…) and the reader has to become a […]

    Beachcombed 6 December 1, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Beachcombed
    Beachcombed 6

      Dear Readers, 1st December, Finally, a break from a busy month of blogging and some relaxing cutting and pasting from the best emails Beachcombing has received before the world plunges into festive hell. Here are the links with readers’ new comments. i) Mystery Chinese Weapons: ii) Victorian Sex Change: iii) Napalm Snake: iv) Eagle […]

    Jean Hill Misremembering Kennedy November 30, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Jean Hill Misremembering Kennedy

      What lying dogs we are! Beachcombing is referring to humanity’s extraordinary ability to warp and deform both our immediate perception of the world and also our memories of those perceptions. You don’t believe Beachcombing? Then take the extraordinary case of Jean Hill (obit 2000). Jean – aka ‘the Lady in Red’ – was an […]

    Dear Lord and Father: Songs Against Songs November 29, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Dear Lord and Father: Songs Against Songs

    Music is strangely resistant to bizzarism. Certainly, after years of reading Beachcombing has only about five pages of scribbled  notes on music in an exercise book and most of those about rock, pop and other post-war perversions. Did Mozart, Purcell, Bach and the rest never get up to anything peculiar? It does not seem possible and yet their […]

    Bats Fight Japan November 28, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Bats Fight Japan

    Beachcombing recently described  the possible Byzantine use of weaponised crows soaked in pitch and wondered aloud whether other birds or flying creatures had been employed by ancient or medieval armies. And, almost immediately, like an answer from heaven, he got three emails pointing him to a wonderful story that he’d never heard before:  kudos to Ostrich (a bizarrist of […]

    Byron’s Skull Cup November 27, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Byron's Skull Cup

    Beachcombing promised just over thirty days ago to avoid the whole subject of decapitations for ‘at least a month’. A month having passed though he is determined to squeeze just another one in and then leave heads on necks until Epiphany. Beachcombing begins his decapitation story with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s visit to Lord Byron family residence sometime in the 1850s […]

    Dog-headed Indians November 26, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Dog-headed Indians

    What do Marco Polo, Augustine, Paul the Deacon, Vincent of Beauvais and the Buddhist missionary, Hui-Sheng all have in common? Well, to keep things short – Beachcombing is on bedtime duty tonight for his insomniac daughter – they all described and (with the exception of Augustine) believed in tribes of dog-headed human beings in lands distant […]

    J. Norman Emerson and Intuitive Archeology November 25, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    J. Norman Emerson and Intuitive Archeology

    You, the archaeologist, are presented with a green hill far away and told to dig. ‘Back in the day’ – Beachcombing is thinking of happy times in the happy nineteenth century – you would have simply hired out a little brawn from a nearby town and blitzed said hillside with spades and picks. No pension contributions, […]

    The forgotten kingdom of Mannau November 24, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    The forgotten kingdom of Mannau

    It is difficult to not to get all lyrical when looking at the early history of Man, the tiny island that stands halfway between the UK and Ireland, not least because that history is so obscure. Beachcombing is not referring to the later Norse destinyof the island, when Man was a pirate base for several thousand frightful Norwegians and […]

    The Vasari Phenomenon November 23, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Vasari Phenomenon

    Monsoon season in Italy continues and Beachcombing finds himself trapped far from home while providing three lectures for a sister institution. It is 6.00 in the morning, no one is stirring. As the library is closed and Beachcombing’s cognitive functions seem impaired  he thought that he would offer up a cookie-dough post: a hopefully interesting […]

    Changing Sex in Victorian England November 22, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Changing Sex in Victorian England

    Disaster in the Beachcombing household tonight. Little Miss B – at least that is who Beachcombing is blaming – left on the car reading light, allowing the battery to run down. The family is thus stranded in the middle of the Italian countryside in monsoon weather wondering whether a car that doesn’t start will serve as a […]

    Great Balls of Floury Fire November 21, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Great Balls of Floury Fire

    Food is dangerous at the best of times. But a thoughtful note by J van Leuven in an archaeological journal (Antiquity) from 1979 should prove of interest to all bizarrists as it suggests that food, more particularly grain, had the potential to bring powerful Mycenaean city states, including Knossos, to their knees. Now if this […]

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