Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Check out this delightful blog by Canadian cartoonist Jay Stephens, creator of the Eisner- and Harvey-nominated comic book 'The Land of Nod', the Annie-nominated cartoon shorts 'Jetcat', and the Emmy-winning cartoon series, 'Tutenstein'.


    "Our Business Policy"

    Please take note that the rare and historically important items we offer on this site are presented for their collector value only! They are bona fide artifacts of historic eras. They are not offered as items meant to instill hatred or bigotry in use or implication. Germania International and its staff are providers of worthy collectibles for museums and advanced collectors. Some of the items provided for acquisition are from turbulent times in world history. We are not interested in dealing with persons or organizations with radical agendas (skinheads, leftists, neo-Nazis, etc.). We welcome the inquiries and business of genuine collectors, archivists, and historians. If you have intentions of purchasing our items for purposes other than what's stated herein, we do not solicit your patronage.
    The staff of Germania International

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  • Monday, January 30, 2006


    "From the pages of 'The British Tarantula Society Journal"

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  • Thursday, January 26, 2006


    "A minor novelist and story editor for David O. Selznick, Val Lewton joined RKO Studios in 1942 to form a "horror" unit, producing low-budget films to compete with Universal's successful monster series. Gathering about him young but talented directors like Jacques Tourneur, Mark Robson, and Robert Wise, and writers like DeWitt Bodeen and Ardel Wray, Lewton put together a production group that turned out a string of critically acclaimed and financially successful films between 1942 and 1946. More than simply the producer for this group, Lewton served as a kind of creative centerpiece, overseeing every project, and contributing his considerable skills as a writer and judge of what is cinematic."


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    By Krikor Berberian

    N. S. Piccolo is born in Veliko Turnovo from both parents bulgarians. He completes his secondary education in Bucharest with the school of Vardalach who becomes his intellectual father. In 1811 Nicola takes the post of a teacher in French languages at Vardalach’s school. Next we see him as a medicine graduate from Padua /Italy/ and in 1817 as a lecturer at the university of the Chios Isles. On the next year Piccolo together with a group of greek rebels transfers to Odessa where G. Lissani & Co. had a small theater and there three of his plays are performed. Among others “Demosten and Kalauria” had the greatest success.

    Now in 1820 Piccolo immigrates to Paris where he meets Dr. A. Corais, an eminent greek naturalist and philosopher, and joins his group. Here studying medicine he also becomes a member of “Philiki eteria”- the Greek revolutionary organization for freedom of turkish yoke. In an appeal to the American people for help in their struggle we see Piccolo's signature in a row with greek revolutionaries. Meanwhile the young scholar continues his work in literature and medicine. In 1823 Lord Guilford, a helenophil and philologist, invites him for a track in philosophy at the University of Corfu Isles. There Piccolo teaches till 1827 and among other activities translates in greek Decartes “Discourse on the method”.

    After the liberation of Greece and the Odrins peace treaty Count Pavel Kisselov, russian governor of the Danubian Principalities, appoints him as inspector general of schools and hospitals /1929/. At his new post in Bucharest Piccolo excels as talented administrator. He establishes modern tuition scheme, substitutes Greek language for Rumanian and introduces studies of natural sciences. Further he organizes sanitary affairs and hospitals, creates quarantine checkpoints on Danube’s harbors and engages in political activities. It is with Piccolo's intercession to Prince Stephan Begird that the idea of an autonomous principality of Bulgarians is created in Dobruja, however, a cholera epidemia hinders the project.

    In 1839 Dr. Piccolo resides in Paris. There he becomes active member of bulgarian emigrant community. He partakes in many political debates and campaigns. During piece conference in Paris after the Crimean war, Dr. Piccolo and Dr. Beron work out a special petition which demands autonomy of Bulgaria together with the other Balkan nations. It is a serious fact, among others, that common truth at that times was the thesis of the Slavic origin of the greek people. Nevertheless, Piccolo never mastered the bulgarian language. He also was an atheist which is evident from the fact that only 1500 golden francs from his testament were dedicated to the church.

    As a man of letters Nicola Piccolo was a follower of a Cartesian philosophy, rationalist and eclecticist. He has definitive role in the formation of modern Greek literary history. He is also one of the eminent figures of bulgarian national revival.


    "Balkan Mediations takes the ironies of today’s intimate links between media and military technologies as its point of creative intervention, examining the incongruities and brutalities of a context in which we now use the same tools to play, create media, and kill".
    "In the west, the Balkans tend to be imagined and perceived through the lens of “balkanism”, something that is little understood and which continues to strongly affect how the region is filtered through the media today."

    “We should remember that the ‘monstorous’ is only a way of describing what lies beyond our own intellectual boundaries,
    in the same way that medieval cartographers imagined monsters to inhabit the lands beyond the known world.”
    - John Tomlinson, Cultural Imperialism
  • Balkan Meditations

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  • the tetratologies

  • Wednesday, January 11, 2006


    Sunday, January 08, 2006


    Tuesday, January 03, 2006


    Courtesy of the Sunday Telegraph (4 January 2004); by Colin Freeman

    (ZNDA: Baghdad) For a country recently purged of its chief tormentor, it is perhaps a grimly appropriate theme for its first new tourist attraction.

    American troops in Iraq have launched what has been dubbed "The Exorcist Experience", after discovering that the ancient ruins they were guarding provided the location for the 1973 horror classic's opening sequence.

    They now plan to help locals put the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra back on the international tourist map by marketing it as a future holiday destination to fans of the cult film.

    Using a modest $5,000 (£2,800) grant, the soldiers have recruited local guides and guards to the city and built a car park and police station nearby. They have also revamped the nearby Saddam-built Hatra Hotel, which they hope to privatise.

    "Once it's up and running again as a visitors' spot, this place will be a real moneypot," said Capt Nik Guran of the 2-320 Field Artillery Regiment, attached to the 101st Airborne Division. "The film will just add to the numbers of people coming here. You should see it all at night - we've put in floodlights and it looks really beautiful."

    The regiment hatched the plan to revamp the Assyrian site's derelict visitors' facilities after spending the summer living in Hatra's 200ft-high sun temples to protect them from looters. An oasis of pre-Christian civilisation in the middle of the desert south-west of Mosul, Hatra's finely preserved columns and statues make it one of the most impressive of Iraq's archaeological sites.

    After spending several months looking after the site and researching its history, most of the soldiers can now discourse knowledgeably on the various Assyrian, Sumerian and Parthian influences on its butterscotch-coloured stonework.

    Pointing with a hand that guided 105mm howitzer shells during the war in Iraq, Capt Guran slips fluently into tour-guide mode as he strides towards the 100ft iwans - huge, open-fronted vaulted halls that resemble Arab guest-tents. Initially, the troops thought the main interest would come from archaeology enthusiasts who flocked there decades ago, before Saddam virtually closed the site to the outside world.

    They only realised its marketing potential to millions of fans of the world's most famous horror film when, completely by chance, Capt Guran watched The Exorcist on a portable DVD player one night.

    To his astonishment, he spotted Hatra's distinctive skyline in the director William Friedkin's opening sequence, in which a priest at an archaeology dig unearths the ancient Mesopotamian demon that goes on to possess a young American girl. "It was filmed a bit before Saddam really came to power, and the opening scene was made at an actual excavation that was taking place here at the time," said Capt Guran, 30.

    "I thought, 'Wow - that's the place we've been guarding'. We've spent so much time down here, you recognise it straightaway."

    Saddam would no doubt have admired Hatra's defensive record against invading superpowers, which involved using early forms of chemical and biological weapons. Naptha bombs and jars of desert scorpions were poured over the outer wall to successfully repel Roman invaders , according to the classical folklorist Adrienne Mayor.

    More recently, the temple has been associated with the so-called Exorcist's Curse, said to have plagued all those involved in the film with bad luck.

    "We had an incident a while back where one soldier shot another, and there were mutterings about it being the curse of Hatra," said Capt Guran. "We had to stop that right away."

    The city was left in ruins after it was sacked and burnt by Sapor, the Sassanian Persian king, in AD 241. The impressive temple complex dedicated to several Hatrene gods, the chief of which was the sun god Shamash, lies in the very centre of its limestone and gypsum walls.

    Mohammad Sulaiman, 35, a former US army translator who has been trained to manage the hotel, hopes it will revive the economic fortunes of the poverty-stricken local town. "This is our heritage and we want to show it to all the world," he said. "Hopefully, now that Saddam has been captured, peace will come and the tourists will return."

    Lt Col Kevin Felix, who had the original idea of revamping the site, said: "I would love to come back in a few years' time and stay as a tourist at the hotel, if things work out in this country. I guess it will either be doing brilliantly, or it will have burned to the ground."

    BTW: This article is now almost two years old but like Nasrudin Odja said to Osama Non Scimitar - "Just as new news is old news once you have heard it - old news is new news twice, if you have not".