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A Bone-breaking Country Flight in Italy, c. 1920 December 13, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
A Bone-breaking Country Flight in Italy, c. 1920

This early aeronautics story comes from central Italy in the 1940s. A mysterious aged man lives up in a secluded valley, a man who is spoken about in hushed terms. It seems this man is almost a wizard in terms of mechanical objects. When he was young he made a bicycle entirely out of wood, […]

Ponte Vecchio: Love Goddess # 3 December 12, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Ponte Vecchio: Love Goddess # 3

Ponte Vecchio’s transformation from kitschy chocolate box cover medieval bridge to unlikely love goddess was unexpected. But it has happened nonetheless. In the last ten years many young Tuscan couples have made the pilgrimage there to cement their love. The ritual is long and complicated. The couple in question first go to a hardware store […]

Modesty and Killing November 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Modesty and Killing

When Benito Mussolini was ‘executed’ (jolted out of a car by some communist partisans and shot in the chest in a ditch) he did not die alone. By his side was his lover and perhaps the most significant woman in his life, Clara Petacci. CP was gunned down a moment before Mussolini himself. The corpses […]

More Kopenicks November 23, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
More Kopenicks

Was it only a couple of week’s ago that Beach described the immortal achievement of Wihelm Vogit in Kopenick? A confidence trickster essentially took a German town hostage by putting on a captain’s uniform. At the time Beach noted the way that the British particularly were insufferable in blaming Prussia’s blind obedience to authority. Since […]

Oldest Still Used Clothes November 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Oldest Still Used Clothes

Strange History announces a search for the oldest clothes in the world. Or rather the oldest still worn clothes. This is the best we’ve come up with so far. A British soldier has escaped from an Italian prisoner of War camp, 1943, and he has run to the mountains where he has fallen ill. Luckily […]

Crowds #6: Bully Crowds November 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Crowds #6: Bully Crowds

We have so far shown numerous posts on crowd photographs: crowd art, crowd speeches, August 1914 crowds, POWs in crowds and religious crowds. Here is by far the most unpleasant of the series – you have been warned! – bullying crowds. A group of people with power, perhaps newly acquired power, decides to revenge itself […]

The Missing Autobiography of Mario Esposito October 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
The Missing Autobiography of Mario Esposito

Mario Esposito (obit 1975) was a talented medievalist born to an Italian family in that glittering Dublin of Joyce, Yeats and Beckett. ME got involved with the struggle for Irish independence, was a keen mountaineer, but above all published on Irish manuscripts. His first academic article was written when he was 18, a rather misinformed […]

Immortal Meals 10#: Love Feast in Fifteenth-century Florence October 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Immortal Meals 10#: Love Feast in Fifteenth-century Florence

If you could visit any dinner in history, where the mighty of the earth were gathered, what would you choose? One of Nero’s shindigs in ancient Rome, Giordano Bruno’s Ash Wednesday Supper, the Banquet of the Chestnuts to watch the Borgias having sex, Churchill and Stalin‘s snarl show at Tehran, Mannerheim blowing cigar smoke into […]

Coins Out of Time October 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Coins Out of Time

***Dedicated to Lehmansterms, whom Beach owes an email…*** An underdeveloped post on the wrong time use of coins. Any other examples gratefully received: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com The following passage comes from a book describing the adventures of an Allied serviceman in Italy in 1943: the serviceman in question had escaped from prison camp […]

Majorana’s Mysterious Disappearance October 11, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Majorana's Mysterious Disappearance

***Dedicated to Cristiano and Mau*** Ettore Majorana (obit ?), a Sicilian who mysteriously disappeared in 1938, was an almost-genius in the field of theoretical physics: many of his ideas proved so insightful that they are still being explored today. The reminiscences of those who  worked with Majorana show that he was not only a remarkable […]

Cartooning the Great War October 8, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Cartooning the Great War

***Dedicated to KR*** Beach wasted a couple of hours this morning thanks to KR who got him interested in online Great War cartoon books. There are the first and second volume of Raemakers’ Cartoon History of the War and perhaps more to Beach’s taste Punch’s History of the War. Can he also advertise this little […]

A Phantom Inventor: Flavio Gioia October 5, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
A Phantom Inventor: Flavio Gioia

Who invented the compass? The Chinese, of course. Sometime between 800 and 1000 that people began to use their lodestones to navigate at sea. But the compass also appears in Europe in the eleventh or twelfth centuries and do we have a case of borrowing (from the far orient, as with playing cards) or independent […]

Holy Gunpowder October 3, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Holy Gunpowder

***Thanks to Chris*** Beach was recently sent a link to Io9 and a remarkable couple of late renaissance images of devils and angels using gunpowder. As the Io9 writer notes – a writer who deserves most of the credit for what follows – the devil ‘packing heat’ is particularly delicious. We include below the wood cut and […]

Crowds #5: POWs September 22, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Crowds #5: POWs

Beach has offered several posts showing crowds: orators, crowd art, off-to-war and religion. Here is the fifth in the series, crowds of men who have just been captured by the enemy. Pictures are mostly from the two world wars, because POWs do not seem to have excited much interest prior to this and because photographs […]

Negosanu and the Countess September 7, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
 Negosanu and the Countess

The following story relates to events in the late nineteenth century. It is about a place that Beach has visited from time to time; though no one, he is sad to report, has ever asked to feel his muscles there. The hero is a huge gypsy from Romania: Negosanu. Let’s hope that the tale is […]

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