Boxen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Boxen.jpg

Stuck in a book-filled house in dreary Belfast in 1906, the 8-year-old C.S. Lewis repaired to the attic with his 11-year-old brother Warren and began to fashion an imaginary world. Jack’s half was called Animal-Land, and Warnie’s was an island called India. The two, connected by steamship routes, formed a world they called Boxen, the subject of novels, textbooks, maps, and even newspapers that the two composed over the next five years:

In those days Mouse-land was called ‘Bublish’ and the mice called Bubills.

Shortly after the ‘Melee of Hacom’s Palace’ (for so it shall be called) some inhabitants of Bombay came over to buy nuts. They taught the mice many things. The most important of which was: the use of money. Before that the Mice (or Bubils as they were called) exchanged things in markets. The Indians landed in 1216.

The Indians as it has been told gave knowledge to the Bublis. But the Bublies asked for some of it. The Bublis asked the Indians how they got on without fighting each others men. The asked ones told the Bubils that they choose a man to rule them all and called him Rajah or king.

The Bubils followed that plan. But no!! ‘Out of the frying-pan into the fire.’ Poor miss led creatures. Now they fought all the more!! Why? Because each mouse wished to be king. One had as much right to the throne as an other. So every place was fighting.

Jack’s Animal-Land drew on the “dressed animals” of Beatrix Potter, but, influenced by the political table talk of their father, it set them in prosaic histories and palace intrigues rather than heroic adventures. “For readers of my children’s books, the best way of putting this would be to say that Animal-Land had nothing whatever in common with Narnia except the anthropomorphic beasts,” he wrote later. “Animal-Land, by its whole quality, excluded the least hint of wonder.”

Update

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spirit_II_in_flight_over_Paris._Built_for_the_San_Diego_Aerospace_Museum._Burned_in_1978_n4.jpg

In late May 1927, when the world had been rejoicing for a week over Charles Lindbergh’s nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic, Robert Benchley sent a telegram to Charles Brackett in Paris:

ANY TIDINGS OF LINDBERGH? LEFT HERE WEEK AGO AM WORRIED.

Brackett wrote back:

DO YOU MEAN GEORGE LINDBERGH?

Designers Wanted

I’m looking for a logo designer and a WordPress theme designer for this site — I want to replace the (rather generic) Helvetica nameplate at the top, and I have a small list of tweaks to make to the body. Ideally I’d like to work with experienced designers who read the site and know the tone of the content, but I’ll value all recommendations. You can reach me at gregblog@gmail.com. Thanks.

05/26/2013 UPDATE: Many thanks to everyone who’s responded — there are too many to thank individually, but I value all the advice and recommendations that I’ve received and will review them all carefully. Thanks again!

Unbound

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wright_flyer_III_loc_gov.jpg

Samuel Johnson’s 1759 novel Rasselas contains a remarkable passage — he anticipates the airplane by nearly 150 years:

He that can swim needs not despair to fly; to swim is to fly in a grosser fluid, and to fly is to swim in a subtler: We are only to proportion our power of resistance to the different density of the matter through which we are to pass: You will be necessarily upborne by the air, if you can renew any impulse upon it, faster than the air can recede from the pressure.

“As a basic claim for a modern patent, the statement could not be broader nor more comprehensive,” wrote a correspondent to U.S. Air Service in 1920. “It only required the modern high-powered internal combustion engine to render his claim effective.”

Ambassador

http://www.florentijnhofman.nl/dev/project.php?id=190

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman set a 26-meter inflatable rubber duck floating around the world in 2007. So far it has visited Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, Belgium, France, New Zealand, and Brazil, and it will eventually reach the United States.

“It brings joy, obviously,” Hofman told ABC News. “It brings people together. We are living on a planet, we are one family, and the global waters are our bathtub.”

Blocked

You have n cubical building blocks. You try to arrange them into the largest possible solid cube, but you find that don’t have quite enough blocks: One side of the large cube has exactly one row too few.

Prove that n is divisible by 6.

Click for Answer

Unquote

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:32B_Secretary_Treasurer_Office.jpg

“It’s odd how soon one comes to look on every minute as wasted that is given to earning one’s salary.” — P.G. Wodehouse

“The Skeptic’s Horoscope”

For Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius:

The coming year is likely to present challenges; these trials are when your true character will show. Trusted friends can provide assistance in particularly pressing situations. Make use of the skills you have to compensate for ones you lack. Your reputation in the future depends on your honesty and integrity this year. Monetary investments will prove risky; inform yourself as much as possible. On the positive side, your chances of winning the lottery have never been greater!

(By Tim Harrod.)

Saber Rattling

This musical map, by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto, presents all 2,053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998, at a rate of one month per second. Each nation is represented by a different tone.

Hashimoto said, “I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave but present problem of the world.”

He undertook the work in 2003, so it doesn’t reflect North Korea’s tests in 2006 and 2009.

(Thanks, Larry.)

Short Subjects

When PLAFSEP magazine asked its readers to nominate the silliest library subject heading, the hands-down winner was BUTTOCKS (IN RELIGION, FOLK-LORE, ETC.). Other highlights, gathered by columnist John R. Likins:

AMERICAN GIANT CHECKERED RABBIT
BANKRUPTCY–POPULAR WORKS
CATASTROPHICAL, THE, see also COMIC, THE
CHILD ABUSE–STUDY AND TEACHING
CONTANGO AND BACKWARDATION
DENTISTS IN ART
FANTASTIC TELEVISION PROGRAMS
FOOD, JUNK
GHOSTS–PICTORIAL WORKS
GOD–ADDRESSES, ESSAYS, LECTURES
HEMORRHOIDS–POPULAR WORKS
JESUS CHRIST–PERSON AND OFFICES
LABORATORY ANIMALS–CONGRESSES
LOVE NESTS–DIRECTORIES
MANURE HANDLING
MUD LUMPS
ODORS IN THE BIBLE
PRAYERS FOR ANIMALS
SICK–FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
URINARY DIVERSIONS, see also URINE DANCE
WASPS (PERSONS)

That’s from Likins’ article “Subject Headings, Silly, American–20th Century–Complications and Sequelae–Addresses, Essays, Lectures,” in Technical Services Quarterly, vol. 2, no. 1/2, Fall/Winter 1984, using data from the Library of Congress and Cataloging in Publication. In The Library at Night (2006), Alberto Manguel gives these:

Banana research
Bat binding
Boots and shoes in art
Chickens in religion and folklore
Sewage: collected works
Sex: cause and determination
Tic: see also toc

And the Whole Library Handbook (1991) offers these, collected by the Library of Congress Professional Association:

Adult children
Beehives; see Bee–Housing
Diving for men
Drug abuse — Programmed instruction
Feet in the Bible
Hand — Surgery — Juvenile literature
Lord’s Supper — Reservation
Low German wit and humor
Monotone operators
Running races in rabbinical literature
Standing on one foot; see One-leg resting position
Stupidity; see Inefficiency, Intellectual

I think some of these may now be out of date, but there’s certainly no shortage of curious headings — in doing research for this site I recently ran across “Raccoon — Biography.”