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shark hunt

“The victim, Shirley Anne Durdin, was snorkelling for scallops with her husband, Barry, and a friend, Keith Coventry, out from Wiseman’s Beach, Peake Bay, South Australia. Peake Bay had always been a popular picnic spot and the beach was dotted with families, including Mrs Durdin’s four children. It was a beautiful day with clear calm water. Keith Coventry told me that he was just swimming away after comparing his scallop catch with that of Mrs Durdin, when he heard a strange sound, but definitely not as the papers reported, terrible screams… Continue reading…

New York Subway, 1905

Dell map mysteries

The Dell Map Back mysteries of the 1940s and 1950s were something very beautiful. No publisher seemed to put more effort into producing mass-market paperback books than Dell. The one thing above all others that set them apart was the beautifully rendered scene-of-the-crime representations on the back covers.

Opening of Charles de Gaulle airport

On 8 March 1974 Charles de Gaulle Airport opened. Terminal 1 was built in an avant-garde design of a ten-floors-high circular building surrounded by seven satellite buildings, each with six gates. The main architect was Paul Andreu. The first terminal was built in the image of an octopus. It consists of a circular central part housing central functions like check-in and baggage claim. The passage between the third, fourth and fifth floors is done through a tangle of escalators arranged in the centre of the building. These escalators are suspended over the central court and covered with a transparent tube for insulation. Andreu initially had envisaged building several terminals on this model. Nevertheless, the first years of operation identified several defects due to the original design of the building. While adequate for journeys originating or ending in Paris, the terminal is not very suitable as a hub since it cannot be expanded. Many passengers have been disappointed to have no view of planes from the main terminal, in contrast to the situation at the airport of Orly.

Los Angeles 1940s

The above film clip is an outtake from an unknown feature film (specifically, a “process plate” intended for rear projection behind characters driving in a car). If it was ever used, it was seen fuzzy and out of focus. Today, however, it’s an amazing documentation of a lost neighborhood. It is odd to think that almost all the buildings you can see have now been demolished and replaced. The Internet Archive’s HD transfer of the 35mm nitrate negative is crisp with detail: shiny cars, palm trees, and depression-era shop fronts.

I apologise for the short ad for those blood-sucking vampires Goldman Sachs before the video. I couldn’t edit it out. Hold your nose and cover your ears for a few seconds.

Thanks to The Atlantic and Prelinger Archives.

Go Sammy!

Mungo Park

“A party of Moorish women came into my hut, and gave me plainly to understand that the object of their visit was to ascertain by actual inspection, whether the rite of circumcision extended to the Nazarenes [Christians], as well as the followers of Mahomet … I thought it best to treat the business jocularly.”
Travels in the Interior of Africa Mungo Park (1799)

Nostalgia in Dublin 4

An evocative photograph of the de Villiers family arriving in May 1967 at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Dublin 4 for their annual three-month stay. Surrounding their Rolls-Royce from left to right we can see Hugo de Villiers, the patriarch of the family and soon to be arrested on gambling charges in Monte Carlo, his delightful and vivacious wife Gina, shortly to die in a round the world yacht race, their two daughters Tammi and Tina, who later pursued a storied career as cabaret entertainers, and last, but not least, Allister de Villiers. It would take more space then we have to fully tell this man’s story. Night-club owner, lion-tamer, quiz show host and all round bon viveur his feet could usually be found at the bar-rail of the most elegant establishments in Europe and North America. Bouncers fought for the privilege of throwing him out and he didn’t seem to go to bed at all for the first thirty-five years of his life. Then came the accusations of untoward happenings in the old family home – Westlands. Details are stil suppressed but the image cracked never to return to its former brilliance. The last person in the photo is of course Barker – the de Villiers’ faithful retainer for fifty years. Rumours abound that he has finally relented and agreed to the writing of his reminiscences. Their publication should warm up even the traditionally cool Irish summer.

Cassette tape covers

Geocentrism

Just when you thought that Galileo had been proved right along come these jokers. They even have a website.



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