Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Self-Mummified Monks of Japan

For three years the priests would eat a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds, while taking part in a regimen of rigorous physical activity that stripped them of their body fat. They then ate only bark and roots for another three years and began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, which contains Urushiol (same stuff that makes poison ivy), normally used to lacquer bowls. This caused vomiting and a rapid loss of bodily fluids. Finally, a self-mummifying monk would lock himself in a stone tomb barely larger than his body, where he would not move from the lotus position. His only connection to the outside world was an air tube and a bell. Each day he rang a bell to let those outside know that he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb sealed...

- the cult of Sokushinbutsu.

Friday, 19 February 2010

From Battleship Potemkin to a chip shop in Dublin

"We remained outside the port for three days. We needed supplies, water and coal, and the people of the city had given these to us. The nobles, against whom we were fighting, had fled from the city. There was no point therefore to bomb and kill our working brothers”.

We arrived at Odessa by the Black Sea, returning from the mutiny on the Potemkin which in part reflected the conditions of Tsarist Russia. This first mutiny woke up the people who were sleeping. The revolt started at lunchtime, at 12 o’clock. There were maggots in the food. The meat was rotten and the bread was hard. The officer had ordered the cooks to cook it nevertheless. At that time no one could speak up or contradict an order. They would be immediately arrested and put shore, where they would be sentenced to 30 days in prison. But Varukinciuk, a sailor friend of mine, had the courage to protest against these living conditions to an officer whom he found on the bridge at the time.

This man, a real tyrant, a Polish man, suddenly took out his pistol and left Varukinciuk laid out on lifeless. This was the beginning of the rebellion and the crew mutinied. Matiuscenko took command of the mutineers and ordered them immediately to force open the armory on board and to take possession of the arms and munitions. Some officers opposed this and a scuffle broke out with continuous gunfire in which the some ended up in the sea, alive or dead."

- the extraordinary life of the late Ivan Beshoff, last surviving sailor of the Battleship Potemkin Revolt.

A brief history of pretty much everything (via flipbook)

50 Stunning Political Artworks via the wonderful ampere's and.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Paris Drowning

He made his way to L’Opéra, where the pavements were like jelly. A chasm had opened up in the square in front of the opera house. Before the police roped it off, people could look down at the drowned world of a work-in-progress destined to become the Opéra Métro station. ‘Would whole pieces of Paris collapse?’ Jerrold wondered. Perhaps the whole of Paris really was doomed...

- London Review of Books

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Saw a clip of this gentleman on the tv recently. Note Patrick Moore's resemblance to the guy from Eraserhead. The whole thing isn't a million miles from David Lynch as it goes.