A Journal of chimeras (brief postings that vanish)

Copyright Mel. White, 2011-2020

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Class Links Egyptology Week 2


Smithsonian on the Egyptian pyramids  

October 5th discovery of mummies at Saqqara 

Mummy of Egyptian princess found in pyaramid

35 small pyramids in Sudan

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Class links - Egyptology week 1

 Recent finds in Egypt: 



Oriental Institute of Chicago on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OrientalInstitute

My favorite Egyptologists
  • Geraldine Pinch
  • Joyce Tyldesley
  • James P. Allen
  • Jan Assman
Fun reading:  The Amelia Peabody books by Egyptologist Barbara Mertz

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Class links - Roaring Twenties - 08/03/20

An hour of twenties music

A good look at the "Other Half" - Rosalind Russel in "Auntie Mame"

Jeanne Toussaint

What the English language pages don't tell you about Jeanne Toussaint

Debutante practice for presentation to queen

The Sloaney (luxury lifestyle magazine)

Listverse:  the wildest parties in history:

Graphic Novel - Lackadaisy (which will also be an animated short film)

Oheka Castle - the second largest private home (now a hotel) in the US

Friday, July 24, 2020

Class Links - Roaring Twenties - July 27, 2020

Some of the fun things to explore today!


Mary Ronald's Century Cookbook on Archive.org

Perry Ladies' Cookbook

A simple fruit shrub (fruit vinegar for drinking) - there are lots of recipes, some of them take months to make.  This one doesn't.

And since it's summer, a cherry-balsamic shrub 

Or how about "water pie"

Tents and campers of 1920-1930 (in case you want an adventure)

Short filmsBabe Ruth, King of Swat in "Perfect Control"

Link to Citizen Archivist for National Archives

Chautauqua Society

Thursday, July 23, 2020

2020 Bingo

Because things are just so strange this year - a collection of odd news stories that made people ask:

See the source image

News links included.  Updated when I run across stuff.

"Zombie cicadas" infected with mind-controlling fungus return to West Virginia

This River Of Black Sludge Recorded In Arizona Is The Stuff Of Nightmares

07/18/2020 Giant swarm of flying ants spotted from space over UK 

07/13/20 2020 adds "plague squirrels" to its apocalypse bingo card 

07/01/20 Part of Lassen Volcanic National Park closed after angry otter bites swimmer - 

07/01/20 - National coin shortage has retailers pleading for exact change 

06/14/20 Locusts Are A Plague Of Biblical Scope In 2020. Why? And ... What Are They Exactly?

05/29/20 Monkey steals COVID-19 blood samples from a lab technician in India  

05/27/20 More Than 100,000 People Have Now Died From COVID-19 In The U.S. - 

05/25/20 George Floyd protests 

05/18/20 Freshwater river turns blood-red ‘like a biblical plague of Egypt’

05/04/20 'Murder Hornets,' with sting that can kill, land in US 

04/07/20 Record-size hole opens in ozone layer above the Arctic 

04/07/20 Chernobyl radiation levels spike as forest fires rage - 

01/10/20 Enormous 'Megafire' In Australia Engulfs 1.5 Million Acres 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Back in Cairo

The ship's Internet turned out to be too unreliable to upload posts, which means that I will be uploading various posts and notes later this week.  I burned up ALL of my International data usage (not hard to do when you're the Geek Princess) and was left with the occasional small bits of free Internet via the ship's satellite.  It was slow... almost as slow as some of the fast modems of 30 years ago.

A good story needs photos, don't you think?

So here we are, back in Cairo, at the Mena House Hotel.  It's just after sunset, and that's Khafre's pyramid sitting on the plateau behind us, dividing the dark land from the indigo sky.  We can't see the Sphinx from here, but I know it's watching us.  The hotel sound system is playing classical music with an oriental theme.  I can't identify either the piece or the composer, but it's a violin arabesque that flits and echoes around the walls of the 2nd floor lobby balcony where I'm sitting and typing.

The grounds of the hotel are green and lush - there's several pools and the walks are lined with flowering plants.  Big fat bumblebees stumble and buzz contentedly here, and I saw the familiar pale green-white of a cabbage butterfly ghosting across the lawn.  You can even see the occasional scarab beetle, looking just like a piece of jewelry, trundling along on its way to an unknown destination.   There's not much traffic this weekend -- it's a four-day weekend here in Egypt and everyone who can has gone out of town.  The hotel grounds are quiet and fairly cool, although the temperature is hovering at 100.

The hotel, like all hotels and public places, has guards (discretely armed) who control the gates as fiercely as any guardian in the ancient books called The Book of Gates.  We don't feel threatened here -- the sense is that since military service is compulsory for young men, that they have to be given something to do while in the military, and keeping the flocks of trinket-sellers away from tourist hotels is one of the things that they do.  More about that later.

Night has fallen while I was writing this blog and downloading my homework from the University of Manchester.  I need to go back to the room and dress for dinner, leaving Khafre's "mansion of millions of years" to watch the brilliant night skies for me.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Know Ten Words In Arabic and I'm Not Afraid To Use Them

I spent six months trying to learn Arabic (fairly unsuccessfully), but I've been using the few phrases and words that I learned on everyone.  I'm trying to learn (or re-learn) a new one every day.  Sadly, one of the necessary phrases is "get away from me" - every charm seller and trinket seller along the Nile is desperate to see tourist money, and some of them get rude and aggressive and won't take "no."  There were two women today who managed to irk many of us.  They sold scarves, and the "hook" was "by women, for women, won't you support a sister?"  They wanted to sell as many as they could, so they got impatient with some of the women who were trying to buy (they wanted to make a 3 second sale and then run to "hassle" (that's what the Egyptians call it) another woman.)  I would have bought a scarf on the way back but their aggressive approach turned me off.

The ship itself has a little store with a vendor who will haggle for prices.  He lets you come in (really, you're a captive audience since you're on the ship and he's there, too) and look and ask questions.  Our tour guide mentioned him, and Bruce bought a gabeyaah (man's robe) from him.  I've gone in to look at things, and others have also bought from him.  Those of us on the tour understand that these little vendors are eager to sell and do need the income, but when they flock around you and won't take "no" for an answer, it's off-putting.

The first day (at Giza) it was amusing.  By now, it's not.

Bruce has acquired souvenirs, including the now-famous "one eared cat."  Someone bought a large-ish (1 foot tall) statue of Bast, but when they tucked it in their bag, it knocked against something and lost an ear.  The husband and wife were on the bus with Bruce (I think I was off climbing around a pyramid at the time) and the husband held it up and in best vendor manner called, "I have nice cat for sale!  Only one dollah!"

Bruce yelled "20 cents!"  ... and ended up with the one-eared cat, which he gave to me (I think we may need another suitcase!)  He added "buyer of one-eared cats" to his self-inflicted persona name on his name tag (he calls himself "Abu Abyad' (Grandfather White))

I have also acquired souvenirs... mine are more expensive.  I have a silver amulet of Sekhmet, who wards off plagues, and a book by Hawass that's basically a catalog of items on display in the Cairo Museum (which I can excuse as a book for my classes.)