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September 27, 2005

The Raven King


"Sir, As a member of the Learned Society of York Magicians, I have often regretted that modern magicians are content to study the history and theory of their subject, and that practical magic has been absent from these islands for more than two centuries. So it affords me the greatest satisfaction to announce to the Public that this melancholoy state of affairs is now at an end."

John Segundus Esq.
The Daily Raven – Letter to the Editor
March 9, 1807

Today... a book recommendation: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It's a great novel and certainly as mythic a tale as any I've read in a long time. For a story about fairies it's incredibly... real.

September 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 22, 2005

Amplifier as Art, Part II


"The aluminum case is hand-polished, the acrylic front and back are hand-cut and polished (including hand fire-polishing), and the silkscreening is all hand-done as well. All of the electronic subassemblies are hand-assembled and hand-soldered. Our team has been working together for almost 10 years now, building guitar effect and amplifiers, and this is my first hi-fi piece. I considered it originally to be something just for myself but so many people said they loved it that I decided to go into production."

Zachary Vex, founder of ZVex, and inventor of the Impamp

After about two weeks with my new Impamp, I can report that all that hand-assembly is worth it... the sound is absolutely amazing! And for those of you who are instrumentalists, ZVex makes a slew of cool effect boxes. My favorite... the Wah Probe.


September 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2005

American Castle


It all began with a haunted island... Pollepel Island. And before you knew it, damsels were being rescued, legends were being made, and wars were being fought! On Pollepel Island...

Bnrmns_drawing_3... And fake Scottish castles were being constructed. Namely, Bannerman's Castle: a full-scale castle, personally designed by eccentric ammunition dealer, Francis Bannerman, to emulate the grand Scottish castles of his homeland. And for 17 long years, Bannerman worked away on his cement and stone marvel... but he died in 1918, before it was completed.

Two years later, in 1920, an accidental explosion destroyed part of Bannerman's creation. In 1969, there was another huge explosion and fire, the flames of which could be seen from as far away as 25 miles. These days, the interior of the castle is mostly in ruins... a shell of a castle (hard-hat required during the guided tour).

Bnrmns1_3  Bnrmns2_1  Bnrmns3

Bannerman's Castle links:

Tour of Bannerman's – Hudson Valley Ruins
Bannerman's History – Wikipedia
Touring Bannerman's – Poughkeepsie Journal 
Photos of the Castle
Bannerman's Castle Trust

September 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fantasy Farm & Heritage USA


Standing But Not Operating is back! Their simple mission... to bring you the pictures and histories of amusement parks that have fallen into disuse and abandonment. I especially enjoyed browsing through Jim Baker's (PTL Club) Heritage USA... which brought to mind this previous post.


(via: boing boing)

September 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2005

Modest Messerschmitt


This is not a real Messerschmitt Me262. It's a scale model created by Fine Art Models, recognized by some to be the makers of the finest scale models on the planet. Vehicles are their speciality, but for the price (the above airplane will probably end up running anywhere from 7-12 k), you may want to pick up a plastic model kit from your local hobby shop and just try very hard to make it look good.

If you visit their website, don't forget to take a look at their oxymoronic Titanic miniature.

September 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 13, 2005

The Mythic Giant Forests of the West


In the 1840s, the fable of the giant sequoias was not to be believed. They were too tall. Too big around. The whole thing was as crazy as waterfalls that fell upwards... or solid gold mountains (which, believe it or not, were were some of the other tall-tales going around at the time).

So began a logical (and profitable) effort to prove the all the sequoia naysayers wrong, by cutting down the majestic trees and carrying them back East, where everyone could see just how real (and giant) they actually were.

The The General Noble Tree House (above) was one of these trees. It existed as gardener's shed on Washington's Capitol Mall until the 1930s.

More info at:
Fall of the Forest Monarchs – The Union

September 13, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2005

Das Junkerhaus


About a hundred years ago, Karl Junker died, leaving us Das Junkerhaus: an architectural wonder to which Junker devoted 23 years of his life. Inside and out, every inch of house is blanketed with carved wooden figures and ornamental reliefs, all strangely interwoven. Even chairs, beds and other furniture are constructed out of short, bone-like pieces of carved wood. Even a century later, the impact of the home is still awe-inspiring.

Junkersm1  Junkersm2

Discover more on Das Junkerhaus at:
Junkerhaus Lemgo – Home of the Junkerhaus Museum

September 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 09, 2005

See Dick and Jane Build a House...


Nick says, "My parents always took us here on frequent cross-state road trips. Dick and Jane's Spot always brings a smile to my face when I think about it, and the 1000 or so weekly visitors probably enjoy it just as much."

September 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 08, 2005

Amplifier as Art


The vast majority of stereo amplifiers are ugly behemoths – giant black and silver boxes that invade your living space. The Impamp is a one-of-a-kind analog tube amp solution that breaks all the rules. With a footprint about the size of an Ipod, the Impamp is killer good-looking (as you can see), and nothing can beat that warm, analog sound. Smooth...

Impamp info movies

September 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Republic of Tinselman


"It's taken a bloody long time to achieve my ambition but I always knew I'd win... Nobody took me seriously at first, but my lawyer told me I had a legal right to stay on Sealand and make it my Principality... That was over 30 years ago and from that day have been determind to prove the point. I never imagined I would have such a devil of a job, but I don't regret a moment of it. It's been a huge adventure."

Prince Roy of Sealand
As interviewed by Rachel Murphy in The Mirror

What do you do when you find yourself with an abandoned WWII sea-tower, six miles off the coast of Britain? What else... you claim the tower as your Sovereign Kingdom and pronounce yourself Sovereign Prince. And when the British Navy comes rolling around to see what the hell you think you're doing, you naturally fight them. Afterall, you must defend your new Principality. So you shoot at them with your gun. And this annoys them and so they leave.

So it was that, in 1967, Sealand won it's first war against the Britsh Navy. E Mare Libertas! "From the Sea, Freedom!" This became the motto of Prince Roy of Sealand when, soon after Prince Roy's skirmish with the Navy, the British courts realized they had no jurisdiction over Roy's tiny empire.

Today, The Princinpality of Sealand has it's own flag, currency, passports, stamps, and all the other accoutrements of a nation. Hm... it almost makes one want to start his own nation. The Republic of Tinselman?

More Sealand Links:

New Foundlands – In the Fictional States Issue of Cabinet Magazine
Sealand Gallery, by Kim Gilmour
HavenCo – web hosting on Sealand

September 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack