beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)
In a continuing effort to avoid doing much-needed homework, here are some random history links I've found over the past little while that may interest some who haven't yet seen them on my twitter feed:

Historically Hardcore Posters.


Upholsterer finds 200 year old love letter inside of chair. 

Queen Victoria and Abdul - "Previously undiscovered diaries have been found by an author based in the UK which show the intense relationship between Queen Victoria and the Indian man employed to be her teacher." Accompanied by good photographs!

Audio Slideshow: mapping Africa. Really interesting look at how Europeans perceived Africa over the centuries.

Getting Negative with Edward Curtis - an interesting article and video about this famous 19th century photographer of Native Americans, and the early "photoshop" techniques he used. 

Two Minute History of Film & TV Title Design 

The voice of Florence Nightingale, recorded in 1890.

While we're on the subject of audio files... Here is the transcript of a 1949 interview with Fountain Hughes, born 1848, and his memories of his childhood as a slave. This one includes some audio files of a few of the lines, so you can hear his actual voice as you read the transcript. 

The Year 2000 as Envisioned in 1910 - by this amazingly creative French artist. 

And not quite history, more like news, but awesome nonetheless:

The 8 Most Ridiculously Badass Protesters Ever Photographed

Some uplifting news coming out of Japan - Badass of the Week, Hideki Akaiwa, who scuba-dived to rescue his wife and his mother, among others, while the tsunami raged. 
beboots: (Harry Potter Face)
 I... can't help myself. >_> The shinies. They are so pretty. (ALSO: warning, the last one in this list is a (hilarious) SPOILER OF SPOILERS)




See more - MUCH MORE - under the cut!  )
beboots: (Awesome Iroh)
So this week off from school has been fairly productive, I suppose. More or less. I could have always gotten more work done. (And now I'm second-guessing the way I phrased that because my British mother always tells me that "gotten" is a filthy, clumsy Americanism and that I shouldn't use it. >_> BUT IT JUST COMES OUT NATURALLY THAT WAY WHAT SHOULD I SAY INSTEAD, "I HAVE BEEN"?) 

ANYWAY so I reached 10,000 words in my thesis! \o/ Woo! I'm sitting at 10,593 words right now, or 38 pages. It still needs a crapload of editing, but things are slowly coming together. 

I also got a decent amount of reading done this week, as might be expected. I'm about a week's in advance of my readings, which means that I can spend the coming week before and after class ALSO working on research papers. 

Anyway, I had a lot of fun a few days ago posting that mocking Twilight picspam, so I thought I'd do another one with all of the lovely GIFs I've picked up recently! (And this time, I swear, I'll figure out lj-cuts properly and make sure it doesn't overwhelm your friendslists. THIS TIME FOR SURE. 

How about I make this one AWESOMENESS-themed? (Note: as illustrated immediately below, a bunch of these will be Harry Potter themed, simply because of the inherent awesomeness of the books, but also because I did indeed pick up a lot of these from the comments of Mark Reads Harry Potter, which you should read too. 





Let us begin! )
beboots: (Canada "discovery" history)

At the behest of [livejournal.com profile] mightyinkas , I've been convinced to make a post of all of the really funny pictures I've compiled that, well, hate on Twilight. See original post here.  

I usually don't hate on something like this. I'm more of a live and let live kind of person. I'm normally not one for taking potshots... but Twilight makes it so easy. >_> Just to be clear, though, I'm not trying to be malicious. See this comment by me explaining my thoughts on the quality of Twilight. This is all in good fun. You'll laugh. I promise. 


The vast majority of these come from the Mark Reads Harry Potter blog's comments... which explains the continual references to Harry Potter as well. 

Let us begin.






Cut to spare spamming your friends list with LOTS of (hilarious) images. Many, many more under the cut, guys. Check it out! )
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 So [livejournal.com profile] beckyh2112 and I have been chatting a lot about history stuff since I made that post a few hours ago (about Two-Spirited People), and I thought that hey, it might be a good idea to recommend some history books for people! There are a lot of history books out there – too many to fully digest, let alone really pick out the good ones – so I thought that I’d share (and recommend!) a few of my favourite titles. I was originally planning on writing this post in a few days, when I had less homework... but I've lost all motivation to do more readings and I had this on my mind... so I may as well just get it out of my system now.

Some of the books on this list are so-called “popular histories” (meaning they’re published by a more mainstream publisher), but others are more academic histories. The difference between the two is usually that the popular histories are more readable (they’re meant to sell better and appeal to a wider audience) and the academic histories are more rigorous and possibly more expensive because of limited publication runs. Be wary of some histories published by the popular press: some don’t go through actual, y’know, peer review, which means they can be published even if they’re saying untruths. Take, for example, the horrific work by Gavin Menzies. He’s the guy who wrote a “history” book so full of bullshit actual historians have dedicated their entire academic careers to proving every last little detail wrong. Menzies is the guy, for instance, who lied about HIMSELF on his “about the author” bit in his book, saying he was born in China (instead of visiting it as a babe in arms) to give himself more credentials. Because he has none. I had a professor (now the head of the East Asian Studies department at the U of A, I think?) give an entire hour and a half long lecture to us on the subject of how much Menzies sucked. So yeah, caveat emptor when it comes to the popular press. They still have lots of awesome stuff!

…And now that I’m done that little soapbox speech… Let’s get down to some recommendations, shall we? (Many of these authors have their own websites which talk about their books... so you can at least take a peek at the cover, and possibly special features, which is why I link them here.)

-There is, of course, the awesome book with the awesome title I’m working my way through, discussed in that last post: The Importance of Being Monogamous by Sarah Carter. See that post for more (awesome) details.

-Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadaversby Mary Roach. Perhaps this is more of a text on modern medicine/culture/etc. with historical elements, but I still enjoy it even though it is quite morbid. A friend of mine who knew I liked the history of medicine leant me her copy and I've been reading through it slowly. It's all about "life after death" - what happens to human bodies. Not just things like new alternatives to burial and cremation (although it talks about that too) but things like practicing surgery on the dead, examining the bodies of a plane crash to tell the story if the black box fails, what precisely happens when a body decomposes, human remains being used in ballistic testing... even modern cases of cannibalism. The author has an interesting attitude towards death (in the epilogue she talks about what she'd like done with her body, a decision made in light of all the research she did for this book), which is refreshing but also kind of unnerving at times. Not for the faint of heart... but I'm glad I read it. 

-The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History by Katherine Ashenburg. This book is more of a pick me up, compared to the one I just described. It's essentially a history of cleanliness in the Western world. I think most of us have a vague idea that in the middle ages nobody bathed and such, but we're a bit fuzzy on the details. This book is wonderful for filling those details in with lots of fun facts and awesome anecdotes. It really does answer the question of "how dirty were they, really?" For instance, during the Renaissance, the rich would often just change their crisp white linen shirts several times a day and be considered clean. Queen Elizabeth bragged that she would take a bath once a month "whether I need one or not". It wasn't until the late 1700s that the rich were noticeably cleaner than "the great unwashed" masses of the poor. I was particularly interested in the later chapters that dealt with changing views towards cleanliness in the regency era onwards... 

-The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson. This book really exemplifies what I find fascinating about the history of medicine and the development of ideas and theories during the mid-nineteenth century. This book is absolutely fascinating. It's about Dr. John Snow (also, incidentally, the anesthetist to Queen Victoria during childbirth) developing theories about the waterborne spread of cholera, directly challenging prevailing ideas of miasma at the time. I'm heavily citing this book during a section of my thesis to demonstrate how hey, these health theories had a logic all of their own and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand by people in the 21st century who have the benefit of generations of experiments and clinical experience. (And really, to people without microscopes, does "tiny invisible creatures" make any more sense that "bad smells" as a cause for disease?)

-Intensely Human: the Health of the Black Soldier in the American Civil War by Margaret Humphreys. (That's a link to it available on Google Books! Bits of it available for free!) Informative, but a bit depressing. This topic is rarely discussed in medical histories of the war or histories of the African American contributions to the conflict. I think it's the only book that's entirely dedicated to this topic. Incredibly well-written, though, and definitely a recommended read if you're into such topics. 

-Our Mother's War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II by Emily Yellin. I did a four-way comparative book review on American Women's roles during the Second World War for a women's history course last semester, and this book really stood out for me. The author is a journalist and it does show in her format: lots and lots of short little anecdotes, light on the analysis... But fresh and energetic and darn interesting! They all couldn't be Rosie the Riveter after all... A very good read. 

-The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way by Bill Bryson. One of my favourite non-fiction books of all time by one of my favourite authors of all time. His writing style is informative as well as being highly entertaining! The title is self-explanatory, but the chapters cover not only the history of the English language but also things like what it CAN'T do (which amounts to examples from other languages for things that English can't describe), to chapters on English place names (and surnames, and their crazy pronounciations) to even a chapter on wordplay and puns. My favourite example? How do you turn a piece of paper into a lazy dog in three steps? Answer: A piece of paper is an ink-lined plane. An inclined plane is a slope up. A slow pup is a lazy dog. Say it out loud. My mind was blown. Anyway, if you can only read one book on this list, this one had better be the one. <3

Aaand... that's all for now. I could recommend more, but I'm tired at the moment. Feel free to ask me to recommend books or articles on specific topics! There's no harm in asking! (All I can do is say no, I am prostrate that I have never heard of you're topic and I am clearly woefully uninformed and I will remedy that post-haste by running out and reading a bunch of articles on the subject you bring to my attention. ;) )

OKAY, NOW I REALLY HAVE TO FINISH MY HOMEWORK FOR SERIOUS. D:
beboots: (naruto)
 MOAR RECOMMENDATIONS, YOU SAY?

I'm sure that if anybody knows my tastes well, they'll know that I absolutely love well-written crossovers. As such, I thought I'd link you guys to the best stuff I've run across thus far... and that I can think of off the top of my head and can dig up easily enough. (Thank you so much, Delicious, for continuing to exist...) Many of these are oldies but goodies. :)

I've noticed that a disproportionate amount are Harry Potter crossovers... but JKR created such a lovely sandbox, so it should be no surprise that everyone wants to play in it! ;) There are also lots of Good Omens crossovers on this list, but in my defense, Good Omens is an amazing book, and it engenders some amazing fanfic. 

(Cut for long list of awesome fics) )
One of the best crossover videos I've ever seen. Another oldie but goodie: Cowboy Bebop X Trigun. Hey, one show is about a bunch of bounty hunters in space. The other's about a guy on a planet in the future with a giant bounty on his head. THEY MUST MEET.



And of course, I can't mention awesome crossovers (let alone awesome crossover videos) without at least mentioning the Buffy vs Edward video (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer X Twilight).

I'm thinking I'll do a timetravel fic recommendation list as well one of these days. And a good alternate universe list, too. 
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 MOAR history links, you say?

Random articles I've run across recently, mostly through Twitter. (Who knew that something so modern could be so chock full of history dorks? <3 )

-Article on gunpowder's rise in popularity in Europe... and why Chinese archers co-existed with firearms for so much longer than in Europe. (Hint: it's because they got skillz.)

-High definition interactive closeups of the before and after photographs of this awesome 240-year-old restored map of New York

-Slave Children Appear in Rare Civil War Photograph

-Why Uffington White Horse is really a dog, says vet. My favourite part of this news article is the poll at the bottom in which 69% of responders still said "It is quite obviously a horse." I agree with them. 

-Strange Maps, a pretty neat-o blog. 

-History of the Body, an interesting interactive look onto historical views of the human body. (Views of women's bodies were almost hilariously weird. Did you know that semen in men is breast milk in women?) 

-Comparing the Modern Tea Party to the Original. Oh, American politics...

-How Three Kids Illegally Captured the First X-Ray Photograph

-Museum Secrets, a super-awesome new TV show from the History Channel. First two episodes out online! Episode two has a recreation of the theft of the Mona Lisa, a discussion of the crazy propaganda details in a giant portrait of the coronation of Emperor Napoleon, and other neat-o things in the Louvre. 

 -Bound by History: The Last of China's "Lotus-Feet" Ladies. This has to be one of the best articles I've seen on Chinese footbinding and the last few elderly ladies who have them. Includes a lovely photo gallery as well. Unlike some of the other articles I've run across which seem to universally condemn the practice, this article shows not only that but also the opinions of the women to whom this was done. It has a different perspective on things. 

And just for fun: 

-A Regency Name Generator! Perfect for the next time the urge to write historical fiction strikes you. :) (I have so much trouble naming characters, guys!) The name it spat out for me was Serena Baynes. :3

-6 WWI Fighter Pilots Whose Balls Deserve Their Own Monument (Cracked.com)

-A RIDICULOUSLY TINY FROG HOLY CRAP JUST LOOK AT IT

AND BLACKADDER: 




Have a nice week, everyone! :D (Now after I've learned a few things, I should, y'know, actually do homework...)


(Click here for previous Civil War linkspam.)
beboots: (Elizabeth portrait)
 A little while ago, I saw on the Twitter feed someone commenting on the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, and I gleed at the reference. :)

For those of you who don't know, these past two years I've worked at Fort Edmonton Park. This past summer I worked as a costumed historical interpreter at the 1846 Fur Trade Era Hudson's Bay Company Fort. But my first job on site was a Game & Ride Attendant at the 1920s Midway. Now, even though our focus was on, well, attending the games and rides, we all did a lot of extra research so we could get some historical interpreting in as well. 

I could natter on for like half an hour about the hand-carved carousel, and I made several blog posts a while back on the subject: Part One (Romance Sides & Money Sides, the Lead Horse, etc.), Part Two (The RCMP horse, Draws-Much-Blood, etc.), and Part Three (Low-Down-Trick, Gus, and others). 

Anyway, when I read the brief tweet about the Chicago World's Fair, I suddenly started tweeting a whole bunch of stuff about the fair and midways in general. Also, freak shows. I thought I'd do a quick recap and linkspam here. :3 

The Ferris Wheel at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 was epic. I don't use that term lightly. The tiny little Ferris Wheel we have at Fort Ed is, well, minuscule in comparison. See this post for a photograph. I found an article with an excellent account of the Ferris Wheel of 1893 here. In short... it was made with the intention of one-upping Paris' Eiffel Tower, which they had created for their Exposition of 1889. The World's Fair in Chicago was meant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas, and was really meant to show the world how awesome the New World was. The axle of the Ferris Wheel was the single largest piece of forged steel at the time. The chairs were more like gondolas, and were the size of streetcars. They were late completing it, and so opened the ride up halfway through the fair... and they didn't test it ahead of time. It could have ended in disaster, but there were no accidents! It was a huge success! Unfortunately, the Wheel itself no longer exists. It cost too much to keep running, and was torn to pieces and sold for scrap later on after the fair was over. 

On a related note, almost everyone on the Midway in my year watched the 1932 movie "Freaks", which employed actual members of a freak show as actors and actresses. You don't really get that today, what with all of the political correctness. (Although, as many have argued, including the so-called freaks, shutting down these freak shows in the 1960s and 1970s didn't help the freak show members at all. What was the Human Torso or the Lobster Boy or whomever going to do, sell newspapers on the street? They made good money this way, for all that they were putting themselves up on display.)

Anyway, as I tweeted, Johnny Eck the Half Boy was my midway hero. Here is a short bio (plus photographs, including one of him doing his famous one armed handstand). He was an amazing guy. He was born without legs, but never let that get him down. (When asked in an interview once about whether or not he regretted having legs, he expressed relief at not having to iron trousers all of the time.) He actually had a "normal" twin brother, and together they were brilliant at doing that classic "man sawed in half" magician's trick. The "normal" twin would go into the box and be switched with Johnny Eck and a midget, to be sawed in half. Through creative use of clothing, Johnny Eck would then get up, sitting on top of the midget's shoulders, and they would begin to walk down towards the audience as if nothing was wrong and that they had been put back together... only for Eck to slide off the midget's shoulders and be chased around the stage by his supposed lower half. Women in the audience fainted, I'm told. ;) 

Here is a clip from "Freaks" in which you can see him climb a stairway. He is totally suave and charming. :) Here are a bunch of clips of him doing awesome things, like working out. Note his gloved hands: he had hard leather gloves made, which he used like shoes to protect his hands from getting too calloused. 

As for another guy who didn't let life's troubles get him down... See Prince Randian Lighting a Cigarette in this clip from "Freaks". 

If you're interested in the subject of historical midways, definitely check out this book, "American Sideshow". 

Also, this brilliant online archive, The Human Marvels

On a slightly different note, one of the other important life skills that I learned while pretending to be a 1920s Carnie was the ability to gaff (AKA "fix") midway games. I can name at least six different ways off the top of my head to rig that milk bottle toss game in such a way as to make it impossible for you to win, all without magnets. It keeps me from enjoying going to actual, RL midways anymore, because when I did I totally noticed the carnies gaffing their games there too, despite its illegality. Well, some of the stuff isn't so much illegal as... not nice. But then again, if every single person walked away with a giant stuffed animal, then they wouldn't make much money, would they? 

Anyway, if anybody wants to know more on the subject of Ferris Wheels, freak shows, carousels, and especially gaffed games, don't be afraid to ask! ;) 
beboots: (Civil war lithograph)
 Hey guys, I've just returned yesterday from being rugged and Canadian up in the Rocky Mountains, and will later post photographs of ice waterfalls and such, but for now I want to share with you a few links that I've run across while trying to do research/trying to avoid doing research for my thesis, which longtime readers may remember is on American Civil War medicine. Here are a few neat-o history links for you all!

-An awesome blog, Civil War Medicine (and Writing) by an awesome editor and writer/historian, Jim Schmidt! (Ironically, I had his book, Years of Change & Suffering (also highly recommended), on my desk and was searching up a reference when I ran across this blog. Small world!)

-A Map of American Slavery, showing the concentrations of slaves and the ratio of enslaved-to-free peoples in 1860, the year before war broke out. Sobering, but very neat.

-A neat little video on a Lincoln impersonator

-The American Library of Congress' online archive of Civil War-era photographs. Very extensive. I <3 digital archives.

-On a more humourous note, history articles from Cracked.com:
5 Lesser Known (Completely Ridiculous) American Civil Wars
6 Insane Coincidences You Won't Believe Actually Happened
5 Fictional Stories You Were Taught in History Class
6 Ridiculous History Myths (You Probably Think Are True)

6 Historical Acts of Revenge (That Put Kill Bill to Shame)
The 5 Most Widely Believed Facts of WWII (That Are Bullshit)
The 10 Most Insane Medical Practices in History
 
6 Insanely Awesome Things The 1900s Thought We'd Have By Now
The 7 Most Bizarrely Unlucky People Who Ever Lived
6 Random Coincidences That Created The Modern World
7 Historical Figures Who Were Absurdly Hard To Kill
Where's The Bridge? The 7 Biggest Things Ever Stolen
5 Presidential Elections That Were Dumber Than This One (Somehow)
5 Most Badass U.S. Presidents of All Time

Trufax.

And now for something completely different: a fascinating three part documentary on North Korea. A travel writer manages to get into the country, and the results are quite interesting, to say the least. And a bit disturbing. His footage filmed during his trip is interdispersed with him speaking about his experience afterwards as well as clips from a propaganda/documentary film released by the North Koreans themselves. 
beboots: (Elizabeth portrait)
So as I briefly mentioned in my other post today, I'm at loose ends. When I ended off my last post with that video of one of my favourite scenes from Trueblood, I thought "hey, that's what I can do! Write a brief review!" But I suspect this is going to turn into something more of a "this is why I love Trueblood" with frequent reference to Twilight for contrast.

Now then, for the uninitiated, in brief, what is the Trueblood series about? 

Right then, any questions? None? All right, we're done for the day. 

Just kidding. That was a short, 15-second clip of Eric Northman, one of the sexiest vampires there is. He's a thousand year old viking, and a jackass. He's also quite creepy at times, open about his sexuality, can get violent, etc. But here's the thing: he's not Edward Cullen. 

Neither is Bill Compton, what you could think of as the "Edward" figure of the Trueblood series. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

(I should confess my sins, first: I have read the Twilight series. And seen the movies. I can be entertained by them without respecting them, all right? >_> For examples, see "Reasoning With Vampires", which tears apart the diction and characterization of the Twilight books, with hilarious results (P.S.: three separate links).)

Let me elaborate... MOAR VIDEOS under the cut too! )
In conclusion, here, have an unrelated video in which Buffy doesn't take any of Edward's bullshit. 

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