1. This started as an exceedingly long Facebook post, but I thought this was a better place to put it. These are my three favorite fun-to-read history things. (Feel free to add yours!)

    The first is an article called The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie, which traces the social history of female blues artists through the lives of two seemingly lost great artists, Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley. Along the way, the author explores the social lives of urban African American communities, the early recording industry, and a whole lot of stunning detail. The way it is presented is really impressive too, mixing video, audio interviews, the women’s surviving songs, and really beautiful prose.

    The first book is Annals of the Former World by John McPhee. Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction, it’s only kind of a history book. McPhee tells the geological history of the United States, and along the way, the history of geology as a discipline. If this sounds deadly dull, I thought it would be too, but the way he narrates the creation of a landscape over eons is beautiful and striking. If you are interested at all in the longue durée mode of history writing, McPhee should be an inspiration. The geologists he meets, particularly one who comes from a long line of Montana ranchers, are interesting enough that at times you wish they had their own book.

    The last one is a little closer to my own work. Frances Karttunen is a linguist, anthropologist, and historian who has done so much to shape our understanding of Nahuatl, the language spoken in the former Aztec Empire. In Between Worlds: Interpreters, Guides, and Survivors she turns to the men and women (especially women), who facilitated contact between cultures. Ranging from Finland to Mesoamerica to San Francisco, she writes these lovely little biographies of each person before bringing them together in a sort of thematic essay about them. She unites the stories of these people in the basic (very hard) realities of their lives. I love her openness to possibility, emotion, and ambiguity, which we so often avoid as a profession. It has totally shaped my dissertation and the way I approach human subjects, and I adore it.

  2. comixology:

    Ms. Marvel never fails to drop the serious knowledge.

  3. travelingcolors:

    Streets of Triana, Sevilla | Spain (by Nacho Coca)

  4. laughingsquid:

Beautiful Photos and Video of the Highly Venomous Portuguese Man-of-War


  … and the purple, formalized, iridescent, gelatinous bladder of a Portuguese man-of-war floating close beside the boat.
  
  “Agua Mala,” the man said. “You whore.”
  
  From where he swung lightly against his oars he looked down into the water and saw the tiny fish that were colored like the tiny filaments and swam between them and under the small shade the bubble made as it drifted. They were immune to its poison. But men were not and when some of the filaments caught on a line and rest there slimy and purple while the old man was working a fish, he would have welts and sores on his arms and hands of the sort that poison ivy or poison oak can give. But these poisonings from the agua mala came quickly and struck like a whiplash.
  
  The iridescent bubbles were beautiful. But they were the falsest thing in the sea and the old man loved to see the big sea turtles eating them. The turtles saw them, approached them from the front then shut their eyes so they were completely carapaced and ate them filaments and all, The old man loved to see the turtles eat them and he loved to walk on them on the beach after a storm and hear them pop when he stepped on them with the horny soles of his feet.


Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

It was the wonderful nature writing that drew me to this book as a child. At nine, I loved the lizards and frogs and feared the wasps and ants of my neighborhood. I dreamed of the sea, just an hour away, that I rarely saw.

As I reread and grew older, I appreciated the metaphor, saw the dignity and sorrow of a life’s work. Today, I still love both aspects. This is my second copy, and I dip into it on odd nights throughout the year, like you would a Bible or journal. It’s constant company has made it a little bit of both.

    laughingsquid:

    Beautiful Photos and Video of the Highly Venomous Portuguese Man-of-War

    … and the purple, formalized, iridescent, gelatinous bladder of a Portuguese man-of-war floating close beside the boat.

    Agua Mala,” the man said. “You whore.”

    From where he swung lightly against his oars he looked down into the water and saw the tiny fish that were colored like the tiny filaments and swam between them and under the small shade the bubble made as it drifted. They were immune to its poison. But men were not and when some of the filaments caught on a line and rest there slimy and purple while the old man was working a fish, he would have welts and sores on his arms and hands of the sort that poison ivy or poison oak can give. But these poisonings from the agua mala came quickly and struck like a whiplash.

    The iridescent bubbles were beautiful. But they were the falsest thing in the sea and the old man loved to see the big sea turtles eating them. The turtles saw them, approached them from the front then shut their eyes so they were completely carapaced and ate them filaments and all, The old man loved to see the turtles eat them and he loved to walk on them on the beach after a storm and hear them pop when he stepped on them with the horny soles of his feet.

    Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

    It was the wonderful nature writing that drew me to this book as a child. At nine, I loved the lizards and frogs and feared the wasps and ants of my neighborhood. I dreamed of the sea, just an hour away, that I rarely saw.

    As I reread and grew older, I appreciated the metaphor, saw the dignity and sorrow of a life’s work. Today, I still love both aspects. This is my second copy, and I dip into it on odd nights throughout the year, like you would a Bible or journal. It’s constant company has made it a little bit of both.

  5. oldflorida:

    Phosphate Museum, Mulberry

    The mildly interesting place you go as a Polk County 4th grader

  6. laughingsquid:

Beautiful Photos and Video of the Highly Venomous Portuguese Man-of-War

They used to wash up on St. Augustine Beach when I lived there. They are beautiful. These crazy, deep, vivid colors and a metallic sheen that is hard to capture in pictures.

    laughingsquid:

    Beautiful Photos and Video of the Highly Venomous Portuguese Man-of-War

    They used to wash up on St. Augustine Beach when I lived there. They are beautiful. These crazy, deep, vivid colors and a metallic sheen that is hard to capture in pictures.

  7. laughingsquid:

ButterUp, A Clever Combination Grater and Knife That Turns Butter Into Spreadable Ribbons

    laughingsquid:

    ButterUp, A Clever Combination Grater and Knife That Turns Butter Into Spreadable Ribbons

  8. jacobvanloon:

    Bronzeville (2012) presented in its new Chicago home. 

  9. Family mourns innocent woman killed by OPD officer's stray bullet at Vixen Bar →

    This doesn’t appear to be another Ferguson.

    But I don’t know how anyone has looked at the tanks, the gas, the drawn weapons, and this incident and doesn’t conclude that the police need better oversight, better training, and need to quit their reliance on pseudo-military tactics. This should be (and is) a civil rights issue for liberals, a scope of government issue for conservatives, and a field day for libertarians. The attacks on journalists should terrify everyone. The fact that it isn’t is because people are easily distracted by their own racism or their sincere belief that the other side must be wrong in all circumstances.

    Regardless of how hairy the situation got, no one should fire 9 shots in front of a crowded building. And this girl did not deserve to die because an undertrained officer got spooked.

  10. tj:

sassy-gay-justice:


I’m terrible.


Also: “Darren Wilson had a broken eye socket!!!” And “there are 12 eyewitnesses who back up the police version!”

    tj:

    sassy-gay-justice:

    I’m terrible.

    Also: “Darren Wilson had a broken eye socket!!!” And “there are 12 eyewitnesses who back up the police version!”