jump to navigation
  • Totalitarian Trees June 22, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Totalitarian Trees

              Beachcombing learnt today, from his daily graze across the newspapers, that Colonel Ghadaffi of Libya has adopted the Italian village of Antrodoco near l’Aquila [Italian article]. For a moment Beachcombing felt lyrical about the eccentric Colonel and about how much MG has brought to the study of the bizarre – it almost makes the […]

    American Pilot Purloins World’s Last Roman Eagle? June 21, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    American Pilot Purloins World's Last Roman Eagle?

                          Ahhh… Beachcombing comes running back to the classics, diving into their sparkling clean waters – leaving his rather dirty mark on those tranquil, traced surfaces. Now Roman Eagles. Each legion had one carried by the aquilifer. The troops would defend their eagle to the […]

    Surviving Hanging June 20, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Surviving Hanging

                      Beachcombing has a file on ‘failed executions’: men and women who were sent to meet their maker but whom, thanks to chance, and, more often than not, the stupidity of their executioners, lived to die another day. Of course, survival rates were always small but the […]

    The American Civil War and a Coincidence June 19, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The American Civil War and a Coincidence

                        Beachcombing has never really got his head around coincidences. So can it really be a ‘coincidence’ that he shares a birthday with another sixteen million human beings? Is it just dumb ‘luck’ that he has the same middle name as his wife’s American cousin? And is it mere ‘fluke’ that he […]

    A Medieval Christian Fairy World June 18, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    A Medieval Christian Fairy World

              Beachcombing greatly enjoys those doctrinal eccentricities that, from time to time, leak out of the mother church and its conglomerates. Who could forget, for example, the early Christian writer Origen mentioning matter-of-factly that  souls might be reincarnated Hindu-style ? The early modern church accidentally canonising the Buddha? Or, indeed, some modern mainstream beliefs – […]

    Review: Curiosities of British Archaeology June 17, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Prehistoric
    Review: Curiosities of British Archaeology

                        Beachcombing has long looked for books that fit his stated mission: ‘the outlandish, the anomalous and the curious from the last five thousand years’. But he has almost invariably been disappointed by just how few books pass muster and also at the poverty or lunacy of those few […]

    The Last Cavalry Charge in History? June 16, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Last Cavalry Charge in History?

                        It is a long ago Sunday and Beachcombing, aged ten, is playing with his plastic Napoleonic soldiers. In walks Beachcombing’s father with his dangerous pacifist tendencies and pointing to a group of charging cavalry observes: ‘They must have suffered terribly when their horses were shot […]

    Ancient Britons Killing Roman Elephants? June 15, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Ancient Britons Killing Roman Elephants?

                      In 43 AD, the Romans finally – after decades of flip-flopping – decide to conquer Britain. The British-Celtic tribes in the island would, however, be confronted not only by a professional Roman army that was about 50,000 strong. The Romans decided to also bring some war elephants […]

    Marchers on the Moon June 14, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Marchers on the Moon

                        Beachcombing has previously enjoyed picking over the Victorians’ and their telescope-fuelled speculations about intelligences on nearby planets. Today though he offers up not a Victorian astronomer but an early twentieth-century newspaper clipper: Charles Fort (1874-1932) who flirted with the idea of life on the moon (and, indeed, […]

    Language Confusion in Vinland June 13, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Language Confusion in Vinland

            Most people, when they think of Vikings, think of men with rakish pointy hats and anger management issues. Beachcombing thinks, instead, of rare manuscripts being burnt, ‘drowned’ or thrown down monkly toilets – he detests the northern philistines.  However, one aspect of Viking life has long interested Beachcombing and that is their habit of […]

    Unluckiest in History June 12, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Unluckiest in History

                        Beachcombing has had one of those extraordinarily bad days where everything went wrong from birdsong onwards: broken computers, screaming infants, rude emails, income tax threats, temperamental car, vomiting wife (don’t ask)… In celebration of this he thought that he would muse on the unluckiest person in history: a […]

    Celts in Ancient Sicily June 11, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Celts in Ancient Sicily

    Beachcombing has luxuriated for too long in the modern world. Indeed the last time he visited antiquity was in the company of some Indian merchants a long week ago. So he rushes back today to the clean, glistening marble of the ancients. The following passage comes from G.T. Griffith’s The Mercenaries of the Hellenistic World (London […]

    Hitler’s Class-Mate June 10, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Hitler’s Class-Mate

            Beachcombing has five files on Hitler and will soon have to start on a sixth. The moustached one was, after all, a whirlpool in history dragging the strange, coincidental, bizarre and outrageous into his cursed depths. A favourite curiosity is examined in Kimberley Cornish’s  The Jew of Linz: Wittgenstein, Hitler and […]

    Victorian Venus Spokes June 9, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Venus Spokes

                        Beachcombing has had a gratifying amount of correspondence over his recent article on Martian Vegetation. He thought then that he would call into cause another planet, Venus and the great Percival Lowell (1855-1916) who wrote on both planets in works including Mars and Its Canals […]

    Outrageous British Street Names June 8, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Outrageous British Street Names

              Be warned! This entry in Beachcombing’s encyclopaedia of the damned is not about British streets that happen to sound rude: Booty Lane (York), Percy’s Passage (London) etc etc etc. Rather it is about British street names that reflect our ancestors’ remarkable lack of embarrassment about the toilet and the bedroom and […]

    Page 282 of 283« First...102030...279280281282283