Three two-wheelers

If I do a three-fer on bikes, does that make it a tricycle post?

A nice old Mercian spotted at the Portsmouth Farmers Market:

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Campy downtube shifters – the retro-grouch in me is well pleased.

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A blast from the past logo (good memories):

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The Mercian badge:

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And a better version from elsewhere on Flickr:

Headbadge decal

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My guess is that the pilots of these babies were next door at the coffee shop – getting their fill of hot drinks before the cool and breezy Halloween Parade.

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Via Ride the Machine, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the Simpson chain.

A draft:

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The Guvnor Owner’s Club tells us the cyclist depicted is Jimmy Michael. Wikipedia’s entry on Michael includes this interesting bit:

His biggest engagement in Britain was the so-called Chain Race at Catford track in 1896. William Spears Simpson had invented the Simpson Lever Chain, which he was so insistent was an improvement over conventional chains that he staked part of his fortune on it.Pryor Dodge wrote:

“In the fall of 1895, Simpson offered ten-to-one odds that riders with his chain would beat bicyclists with regular chains. Later known as the Chain Matches, these races at the Catford track in London attracted huge crowds estimated between twelve and twenty thousand in June of 1896. Simpson’s team not only included the top racers – Tom Linton, Jimmy Michael, and Constant Huret – but also the Gladiator pacing team brought over from Paris. Pacers enabled a racer to ride faster by shielding him from air resistance. Although Simpson won the Chain Matches, they only proved that the Gladiator pacers were superior to their English rivals.[5]“

Michael was pitched against Charley Barden in the five-mile race. What happened next – indeed whether it happened in London or at another Chain Race in Germany – is now lost. But stories start with Michael taking a drink offered to him by Warburton[6] and end with his riding poorly to his falling off his bike, remounting and setting off in the wrong direction.[7] The one thing accounts agree on is that the crowd shouted “Dope!”[8]

Michael’s strange behaviour at this meeting, and his withdrawal, led him to accuse Warburton of doping him. Many rumours surrounded Warburton but none had been proven and he sued for libel.

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And the approved ad – note the quints in the background and -I assume- pacing le Boulanger. Quads and quints were used for pacing before being supplanted by dernys.

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The Simpson Lever Chain is a bit of oddness – equal parts unnecessary complication and perpetual motion machine. The chainwheel interface operates more or less conventionally, but the cog engages the top of the triangular link – thus the ‘leverage’?

The Simpson Chain, of which so much was heard at the last Stanley show and so little since, has entered the cycle field in a practical way through the medium of a company by whom it is to be promoted. Whatever may be its ultimate fate and merits it has friends and opponents whose views are as fervid as they are diverse. The Cyclist condemns it, denies the genuineness of the victories it undoubtedly has recently gained in contests and roundly contests its value. On the other band, so important and disinterested an organ as The Sporting and Dramatic News is one of the ardent supporters of its claims, says of it, that “There is nothing simpler than the Simpson chain, which can be applied to any safety cycle now in use at a very moderate cost.”*

Colobus Day Weekend

Some highlights from the long weekend:

A front-long (its opposite is back-long) bike sighted at the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning.

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From there, off to the Athenæum book sale.

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Two words that cause my heart to race (even if there’s a little staining) – tipped in.

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More images from Ehon mushi erami here.

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They’re the reason for the season!

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Most of the rest of the long weekend was spent outside.

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July photographs

Just unloaded the camera – here are some pix that may not have justified a post on their own, but taken together are a nice slice of life.

Blueberry picking with my partner in berrycrime at Sturgeon Cove:

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The cove is in the background (and yes, there are sturgeon in the main river – or at least there were 10 years ago).

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My Utricularia humboldtii bloomed! First time!

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Two styles of rabbit dogs. The kind that come from Kearsarge Mountain Teckels:

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And the kind that come from Popper’s Sausage Kitchen:

Rabbit hot dogs … are locally raised New Zealand White and are seasoned with sage, white pepper, garlic and ginger.

Damn good, too.

These are Their Stories

These are Their Stories.

Each piece is an artist’s interpretation of a one-line episode summary from the DirecTV program guide (full list of titles artists could pick from). Like the series that inspired them, they are sometimes straightforward and sometimes offer a twist; sometimes they contain no easy answers, and sometimes they are just plain goofy.

A Man is Murdered with a Saw


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Radiation Kills a Tormented Scientist

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Death Links to Ultimate Fighting


Posted in art

The Harvard Herbarium

First, let me acknowledge peacay as undisputed champion of Internet cool-stuff-finding. Today’s Butterfly Album post is a multi-dimensional winner. First, there are the images. I’m particularly partial to a painting containing what I think is a Giant Water Bug:

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Then there’s the intriguing info on where the insects were collected:

The only other information known is that the butterflies and insects were collected from the Aralia (spikenard) and related Tetrapanax papyrifera (pith paper tree) plant species.

Followed by a link to the Harvard Herbarium for more info on the pith paper tree. The Herbarium rates a big marker pin on my mental map – it’s close, houses the Blaschka’s glass plant models and – most important for me – was the base of operations for Richard Evans Schultes (prev. posts here and here). I’ve wandered around the Herbarium website before, but today – thanks to peacay – I kicked around the Botany Library On-Line Exhibits (not sure I’ve ever happened upon this part of the site before). There’s a nice series on book covers/bindings:

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a section on the ‘other’ Amanita (phalloides)

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and then there’s this, from the Economic Botany Clipping File:

Dr. Schultes teaching in the Nash Lecture Hall

Painting by Hannah Barrett, November 1994

The caption in the tiles says, “Richard Evans Schultes, Director Emeritus, demonstrating the blowgun in the Nash Lecture Hall, the Botanical Museum, Harvard University, 15 November 1994.” Ethnobotanical explorer in lab coat? Check. Blowgun, darts and quiver? Check. Little potted cactus ($100 says Lophophora williamsii)? Check. More interesting details that I’ll leave for you, the reader? Check. I’m curious as to what molecule is diagrammed on the chalkboard…

One last picture to end the post – from the book Beata Ruris Otia Fungis Danicis Impensa. Enjoy!

Edward Quin’s Historical Atlas

Maps are metaphors.

An

Historical Atlas

In A Series Of Maps

Of The World As Known At Different Periods;

Constructed Upon An Uniform Scale, And

Coloured According To The Political Changes Of Each Period

Eden

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The Empire of Cyrus the Great

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At the time of the Death of Constantine.

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The Empire of Kublai Khan

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I love the David Rumsey Map Collection – this find is via a tweet from @bibliodyssey. Any map series that references the Massegetae and Sogdiana is a good one.

Nick Cave (no, not that one)

Amazing Soundsuits by Chicago-based sculptor/fiber artist/genius Nick Cave. Found by following an inbound link (to Tibetan Pop Surrealism) back and then googling like mad.

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Youtube of suits under construction/dancing etc.:

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Molly Would blogs Mr. Cave’s visit to SCAD.

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A slide show from the Fowler Museum, UCLA (hopefully, the link works well – the Fowler/phototour is a bit tricksy – if it doesn’t work, click on the Fowler link, then on Nick Cave Photo Tour).