Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'm still here.....

....despite the lack of recent posts, just heavily involved in a work project that's comprehensively eating up the hours, but in the process improving my bank balance! The pressure should be off sometime next week and I'll be getting my life back....expect a big catch-up session to celebrate!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Papercraft Ceiling Cat......every kitchen should have one

No arguments....just do it! Dig out your scissors and glue stick this minute and get printing.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Google Sky.....

.....this one's for Ma. View the heavens from Google Earth, I know you've already got it installed! Click on View/Switch to Sky on the top toolbar.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Modern paperback covers have a way to go....

.....when you get the chance to see the way they did it large for hardbacks in the past. I'd give most of these permanent shelf space purely for the covers!

The LOLcats bible

An extract from the LOLcat bible, the first few verses from Genesis......

Boreded Ceiling Cat makinkgz Urf n stuffs
1 Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.
2 Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.
3 At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz.
4 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.
5 An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

More vintage travel posters..... you get the impression I'm wishing my life away?

Far and Wide is a virtual exhibition at the Los Angeles Public Library, click on the cruise liner for the next page. Click on the image to enlarge.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cover the red spot

They say......."Here you can play and practice the free online version of the carnival puzzle game 'Cover the Red Spot'. The object of the game is to completely cover the big red circle with the 5 smaller zinc discs. The puzzle looks like it should be easy to solve, but actually is very difficult. However, once you figure out the winning disc configuration, with a little practice you should be able to consistently beat the cover the spot game. Interestingly, the puzzle is still used at carnivals and fairs, and the prizes offered for successfully covering the spot are usually the biggest and best."

Well, I got nowhere near.....and not helped by the leader board giving the winning time as 6 seconds!

Roll up, roll up my pretties, try your luck here

Public information

Can't remember whether I've posted on the National Archives "Public Information" films available online already....but not to worry, it's worth another mention! There's more than 70 of them - dating from 1945-2006 here. My particular favourite is "Joe and Petunia - Coastguard" on this page to watch


Modernmechanix has a great post "How to Drown Yourself DIY Style" pulling together past posts about vintage diving "developments". Go read.

Just in case I ever get worksick in the dark watches of the night....

....I guess I could always check out the action in Ellison Quad. It's marginally better than counting sheep! (I had to wait an age to catch that solitary figure in the foreground....and just out of interest, he would later have walked over the exact spot where my office was before it was demolished to make way for the access route to the new bridge to City Campus East)

Marzipan heaven....if you're in Antwerp!

Just look what they do with it......

Eugene and Louise Bakery is opening tomorrow.....and don't I wish I was there!

PS....Sarah, eat your heart out!

Legacy pre-release download

Haven't checked this out yet (it's still downloading on the desktop next door!) But it looks like a means of producing large-format family tree wallcharts (if you have access to a plotter, which as it happens I do!) Will report back when I've experimented.

But if you want to try it out too, this is the download link

UPDATE....have just installed and the programme will "expire" on 15th June 2008 (after which you have to purchase) Time to give it a whirl though!

Ma's been googling....

....and she's found a website that has photographs showing Haltwhistle (looking about as busy as it is today!) along with other local memorabilia.

Link to "A family history of John Watson"
Click on "Old Haltwhistle" in the left-hand menu for general interest information and pictures

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A couple of vintage cookbooks

Lurid pigs in blankets from Betty Crocker's Cookbook for boys & girls (1975)
View the flipbook or download the pdf

And a bit further back in cullinary history there's this one, "A bachelors cupboard; containing crumbs culled from the cupboards of the great unwedded" (1906)
View the flipbook or download the pdf

Both from

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Kunstformen der Natur by Ernst Haeckel

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Find the bones

Child friendly....but, OK, I liked it too!

Air on a G string

Played rather well on bottles

....and from the days when they advertised tobacco on TV

a, b, c........

The following links lifted from the Internet Archive Blog

"One hundred years of alphabet books"

The Royal Alphabet (1808):View Item / View Book
The Merry Cobler and his Musical Alphabet (1815-1820?):View Item / View Book
The Nursery Present, or, Alphabet of Pictures (1830):View Item / View Book
An Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1847):View Item / View Book
Footsteps on the Road to Learning, or, The Alphabet in Rhyme (1849):View Item / View Book
The Illustrated Alphabet of Birds (1851):View Item / View Book
Funny Alphabet (1850-1864?):View Item / View Book
My First Alphabet (1865 to 1889?):View Item / View Book
An Alphabet of Celebrities (1899):View Item / View Book
Little People: An Alphabet (1901):View Item / View Book
An Alphabet of History (1905):View Item / View Book
A Peter Pan Alphabet (1907):View Item / View Book

More than you probably want to know about Mother's Day there for the taking at Wikipedia

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Chemistry.....not eveyone's cup of tea

But Chris might like this, in an anally retentive sort of way!

"Science can produce some very cool things on the Web. One of them being this ridiculously useful Web version of the periodic table of the elements--a staple for chemists and scientists at large. The chart, found at, is completely dynamic, letting you adjust nearly every aspect of the data to see what each element does at various temperatures, and even turn back the hands of time to see which parts of the chart were missing before being discovered by scientists."

Found at Webware

LATER....On a lighter note, also worth checking out is "The Table of Condiments that Periodically Go Bad"

Tynemouth open-air swimming pool

I spent many a happy (1960's) school summer holiday opened at 10.00am and closed when the clientele drifted away. They sold cups of hot Bovril and parma violets, so we didn't go hungry. The pool water temperature, displayed on a chalk board at the entrance kiosk, was always 10 degrees F warmer than the sea over the wall. I seem to remember that the manager was called Mr Peach, but then again I might be making that up! What I haven't forgotten is the way the slightly mildewed green canvas changing cubicle curtains were magnetically attracted to my bare back and the damp concrete floor sucked at my feet (while seductively whispering "verrucahs")

Watch the (silent, black and white, 1925) grand opening on British Pathe News

A couple of YouTube videos more my era....

But now.......

PS.....I was going to add in a bit about Hawkeys Lane open-air Baths in North Shields but the interwebs failed me......not a picture or a mention to be had!

Local history....ancient and comparatively modern

"Past Perfect is a New Opportunities Fund grant-aided project run jointly by Durham and Northumberland County Councils. It uses the latest in virtual reality interactive technology to bring the archaeology and history of the two counties alive. Browse around seven very different archaeological sites, experiencing how people lived in these places. Search the archive sections to find historical documents, archaeologists' records, photographs, objects and other archives, and learn how these elements helped create our vision of life in the past."

Link to Past Perfect

"Keys to the Past is an exciting new Heritage Lottery Funded project, which will help to unlock the secrets of Durham and Northumberland's past. This joint venture between Northumberland and Durham County Councils has created an exciting and colourful website through which a complete record of the region's archaeology can be accessed."

Link to Keys to the Past

Optical illusion

"Keep in mind that this is a static image. It is not animated in any way. but as your vision moves back and forth the center area seems to be moving toward the center (contracting) and the outer edges seem to be moving away (expanding) from the center. Also worth noting is that if you fixate on a point in the center and don’t move your eyes this anomalous motion will stop."

Good tip! From Optical Illusions for Kids.....but, you know, it works for grown-ups too!

Lots of lovely pictures

Vintage posters (about 300 on one page, takes a while to load but worth the wait) here

Condiment sachets....OK, not everyone's first choice for eye candy.....but somehow it works!

And how about cheese labels?.....there's loads here

.....and if you're still hungry for more, there's literally hundreds of (apparently scanned from newspapers) world-wide bank logos here. Some people collect the strangest things!

Singing science

6 late 50's/early 60's LP's worth (you'll remember them.....round/black/plastic things?) of songs to inspire a future generation of scientists here (I wonder how many Nobel Prizewinners have them filed away in their auditory memory banks?)

Record titles....Space, Energy and Motion, Experiment, Weather, Nature, More Nature.....with reto record covers to match!

A sample....."The Song of Rocks" is below, if only to whet your appetite and get you lusting for more....although, you just have to feel sympathy for those poor old sedimentary rocks.....they sound SO depressed!

Co-respondent shoes

"The shoes are said to have got that name because they were often left outside hotel rooms, ostensibly to be cleaned, as an easily identifiable signal that hanky-panky should be assumed to be taking place within. This was because the only permitted cause for divorce at the time was adultery by one partner. For a couple to arrange a divorce in an amicable way, one member - it was commonly the man - had to be caught in flagrante with another woman. A minor industry grew up in which housemaids in hotels augmented their meagre wages by giving evidence of having found the supposedly adulterous couple in bed together."

A partial extract from the World Wide Words e-newsletter 1st March 2008 (archives here)

Sign up for a weekly update on the world of words, it arrives just in time for that first Saturday morning cup of coffee!

Picture credit.....because apparently you can still buy them (though I guess Renown 1886 Online Outfitters aren't necessarily going for the same market share these days as they've introduced an extra "r" into the spelling, co-respondent thereby becoming correspondent......which shifts the meaning from the threateningly "legal" to the much more acceptable "literary") And a paltry £135 a pair.....but, on the upside, there's two colourways to choose from guys!
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