Archive for February, 2013


February 17, 2013



Wikipedia Entry of the Day: Curse Tablet

February 13, 2013


Just in time for Valentine’s Day?? The funniest part to me is making a bunch of these in anticipation of demand but leaving the names blank.

A curse tablet or binding spell (defixio in Latin, κατάδεσμος katadesmos in Greek) is a type of curse found throughout the Graeco-Roman world, in which someone would ask the gods to do harm to others.

These texts were typically scratched on very thin sheets of lead in tiny letters, then often rolled, folded, or pierced with nails. These bound tablets were then usually placed beneath the ground: either buried in graves or tombs, thrown into wells or pools, sequestered in underground sanctuaries, or nailed to the walls of temples. Tablets were also used for love spells and, when used in this manner they were placed inside the home of the desired target.[1] They are sometimes discovered along with small dolls or figurines (sometimes inaccurately referred to as “Voodoo dolls[2]), which may also be pierced by nails. The figurines resembled the target and often had both their feet and hands bound.[3] Curse tablets also included hair or pieces of clothing. This is especially the case in love spells, which calls for “hair from the head of the love target.” Some love spells have even been discovered “folded around some hair,” probably to bind the spell itself.[4] “Not all tablets included a personal name, but it is clear especially in the Roman period, that tablets were sometimes prepared in advance, with space left for inserting the names provided by paying customers.”[5]

Secret Door 2: The Man

February 12, 2013

Skulls Secret door 2 with man

Please find attached my discontent

February 8, 2013

One of the vomit-piles of modern life is formal email correspondence. Swapping stock phrases with strangers at the unfun costume party called “job”: No Thanks! Was amused then to discover that the ubiquitous Please Find Attached‘s stodgy uncle Please Find Enclosed has long been a punching bag of usage guides.

Bryan Garner writes of enclosed please find, please find enclosed, enclosed herewith, and enclosed herein: “These phrases—common in commercial and legal correspondence—are archaic deadwood for here are, enclosed is, I’ve enclosed, or the like. Interestingly, business-writing texts have consistently condemned the phrases since the late 19th century” and provides a few samples.

“Please find enclosed: A more ridiculous use of words, it seems to me, there could not be.” R.G. White (1880)

Inclosed herewith please find. Inclosed and herewith mean the same thing. How foolish to tell your reader twice exactly where the check is, and then to suggest that he look around to see if he can find it anywhere. Say ‘We are enclosing our check for $25.50.'” Bartholomew & Hurlbut (1924)

Please find enclosed. This worn-out formula is not in good use in letters, either business or personal.” M. Weseen (1928)

“When you read a letter that sounds as if it were a compendium of pat expressions from some old letter book of the goose-quill period, do you feel that you are communicating with the writer’s mind? On the contrary, if you have a discerning mind, you know that you are merely getting a reflex from one who lacks taste and good mental digestion…. When you compose letters, beware these bromides: …inclosed please find.” H. Cramp (1930)

“Business words and expressions borrowed from an earlier generation can make your writing sound artificial and pedantic. Every letter will read like a form letter, and you will sound bored or, even worse, boring. Thinking up substitute phrases is easy if you put your mind to it. Consider some of these revisions: … Enclosed please find [becomes] I am enclosing.” M. Piotrowski (1989)


Kill Yourself, the “painting”

February 7, 2013


Nancy Dwyer
American, born 1954

Kill Yourself, 1989
Vinyl paint on canvas
70 x 90 inches (177.8 x 228.6 cm)

Superb Owl

February 5, 2013

In recognition of the victory of The Ravens, here is a haunted tidbit related to Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. Written by Gauguin in the Marquesas (tite flag) shortly before the painter’s death, it relates an anecdote from Paris, 1880.

… Do not get the notion of reading Edgar Allan Poe except in some very reassuring place….

Let me tell you a true story. My wife and I were both reading in front of the fireplace. Outdoors it was cold. My wife was reading Poe’s The Black Cat

The fire was about to go out and the weather was cold. It was time to go fetch some coal. My wife went down to the cellar of the little house we had sublet from the painter Jobbé-Duval.

On the steps a black cat gave a frightened jump. So did my wife. But after a moment of hesitation she continued on her way. Two shovelfuls of coal—and a skull emerged from the heap of coal. Shivering with frieght my wife left everything in the cellar, raced back up the stairs, and finally fainted in the bedroom. I went down in turn, and as I shoveled more coal I brought an entire skeleton to light. It was an old wired skeleton that Jobbé-Duval had used and then, when it had gone out of joint, had thrown away in the cellar.

… Beware of reading Edgar Allan Poe.


Yes, beware of reading EAP… especially his godawful poetry. Somehow the French have always thought him a badass. BTW, Gauguin compares Poe’s work to the paintings of Odilon Redon. (p.s. the expression on this “face” is not acceptable!)

Wikipedia Entry of the Day: Aurora consurgens

February 4, 2013


The Aurora consurgens is an illuminated manuscript of the 15th century in the Zürich Zentralbibliothek (MS. Rhenoviensis 172). It contains a medieval alchemical treatise, in the past sometimes attributed to Thomas Aquinas, now to a writer called the “Pseudo-Aquinas”. Unusually for a work of this type, the manuscript contains thirty-eight fine miniatures in watercolour. The illustrations are allegorical representations of alchemical elements depicted in human or animal form. For example, mercury is depicted as a serpent;gold as the Sun and silver as the Moon.