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Posts Tagged ‘Agatha Christie

The Walking Dead…

 

From the 1990s, web sites long past relevance– but still “live”…

Click down memory lane at “17 Ancient Abandoned Websites That Still Work.”

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As we unpack the undead, we might recall that it was on this date in 1952 that that Agatha Christie’s mystery play The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End– where it has shown, without interruption, since.  At over 25,000 performances (and counting), it is the longest running show (of any type) in the modern era.

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Written by LW

November 25, 2013 at 1:01 am

The Edge of Light…

A complement to yesterday’s missive on urbanization:  photographer Adam Ryder‘s series, “The Edge of Light“…

More of this series– and other mesmerizing work– on Adam’s site.

As we meditate on moving boundaries, we might recall that it was on this date in 1954 that Agatha Christie was reported in London newspapers to have said “An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have: the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.”  (In fact, the remark was attributed to her by her second husband, the archeologist Sir Max Mallowan.  Christie later insisted that she was she was quoting “a witty wife.”)

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Written by LW

March 9, 2012 at 1:01 am

(Not) all roads lead to Rome…

 

click here for larger, interactive version

In about 300 CE, Imperial cartographers created a road map of the Roman Empire; hundreds of years later, medieval artisans copied it, creating the Tabula Peutingeriana

Now, René Voorburg and a team of like-minded enthusiasts have re-copied the Tabula.  Using a set of techniques described here, they have mashed it up with Google Maps to create Omnes Viae: Tabula Peutingeriana— replete with Iter Vestrum (“Your Trip”), a handy route-planning tool…

As readers will see, while during the time of the Roman Republic, all roads did lead to Rome, imperial expansion– which began with the Empire in 44 BCE– rendered that kind of “hub and spoke” transit architecture impractical.  The Tabula dates from relatively early in the Empire.  Soon after, Constantine became Caesar and created Constantinople as an Eastern capital; in another 50 years, the Empire was divided…  and the roads became even more decentralized.   The Western Empire collapsed in 473, and the roads pictured in the section of the Tabula pictured above became past of a larger network of European roads.  The Eastern Empire lasted until 1453, when it fell to the Ottoman Turks; and its roads became part of that burgeoning empire’s network.

 

As we feel an inexplicable craving for polenta, we might wish a mysterious Happy Birthday to Agatha Christie; she was born on this date in 1890.  Dame Agatha published 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections  (featuring creations like Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple), along with a number of  successful plays.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time– her novels have sold over four billion copies– and, with William Shakespeare, the best-selling author of any type. And according to Index Translationum, she is the most translated individual author (at least 103 languages), with only the collective corporate works of Walt Disney Productions surpassing her.  Her play The Mousetrap opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London on November 25, 1952 and is still running– at more than 24,000 performances, the longest-ever initial run of a stage play.

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Top of the Pops…

After an author has been dead for some time, it becomes increasingly difficult for his publishers to get a new book out of him each year.
– Robert Benchley

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From the always-amusing Mental Floss, a current read on The All-Time Best-Selling Books.  The top spots are held by volumes either instructional or devotional:

1. The Bible (6.7 billion copies)

2. Quotations from Chairman Mao, Mao Tse-Tung (900 million)

3. The Qur’an (800 million)

4. Xinhua Zidian (400 million — a Chinese dictionary, first published in 1953)

5. The Book of Common Prayer, Thomas Cranmer

6. Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan

7. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, John Foxe

8. The Book of Mormon, Joseph J. Smith, Jr.

But two works of fiction round out the Top Ten:

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling (107 million — UK title was …and the Philosopher’s Stone)

10. And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie (100 million)

Read the full list (and find links to top lists of videos, games, and albums) at  The All-Time Best-Selling Books… dive more deeply into the rankings at Wikipedia— which observes:  “This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness.”  To put it politely:  note, e.g., that Tale of Two Cities and Tolkein’s work probably belong in MF’s Top Ten… Still, it’s fun…

“Classic.” A book which people praise and don’t read.
– Mark Twain

As we turn the page, we might recall that it was on this date in 1593 that poet and playwright (Shakespeare’s nearest rival) Christopher Marlowe was killed in a tavern brawl.  Marlowe reputedly supplemented his income as a spy; in any case, he ran afoul of Queen Elizabeth’s government when, earlier in the month, his roommate, playwright Thomas Kyd was grilled by authorities.  Kyd  insisted that the “heretical” papers found in his room belonged to Marlowe, who was subsequently arrested, but was able to use his connections to arrange bail.  While out Marlowe became involved in a fight– ostensibly over a tavern bill, but believed by many to have been a set-up– and was stabbed to death.

The 1585 portrait discovered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1953, believed to be of the 21-year-old Christopher Marlowe.  The inscribed motto is “QVOD ME NVTRIT ME DESTRVIT,” “that which nourishes me destroys me.”  Indeed.  (source)

 

We might note too that (as the Library of Congress recalls) it was on this date in 1868 that Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order Number 11 designating May 30 as a day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

The first national celebration of the holiday took place on that day at Arlington National Cemetery, where both Confederate and Union soldiers were buried. Originally known as Decoration Day, at the turn of the century it was designated “Memorial Day.”

Vaulting pole…

Facing the waist-line challenges that lie ahead on this day of calorie-soaked celebration, a reader’s thoughts might well turn to exercise…

Most Americans are aware of the craze-let that purports to turn pole dancing into a fitness routine.

But as reader MK points out, in India poles are a guy’s domain– and are the locus of some pretty extraordinary moves; here, a look at the traditional sport– it dates back at least as far as the Twelfth Century– they call “Mallakhamb“…

 

As we marvel at the mastery, we might recall that it was on this date in 1952 that Agatha Christie’s mystery play The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End– where it has run, without interruption, since.

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