Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) has announced that he will resign from Congress. He has been recently been in the news for alleged ethics violations including a Downton Abbey office redecoration he didn't pay for, sketchy real estate deals, claiming 170,000 miles in reimbursement on a personal vehicle that he later sold with 80,000 miles on the odometer, and much much more! [more inside]
Melk Abbey is a Benedictine abbey founded in 1089 CE in the Wachau valley, Lower Austria. Today's baroque abbey was built in the early 18th century. A dozen 360 panoramas of the interior and exterior of the abbey. Three more 360 panoramas, including the library. Melk Abbey-Austria-UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Danube and Melk Abbey. [more inside]
Whoever let the tape roll on at a Beatles recording session at Abbey Road studio, 47 years ago, deserves our gratitude for several reasons. For reminding us that these exalted and almost absurdly famous musicians could sound like rank amateurs trying to teach themselves their newest song. For giving non-musicians a window onto the utterly mundane reality of the recording process, i.e. the endless waiting around for the engineer to get the tape cued up into the right spot. For giving us an audio glimpse of Lennon and McCartney's continual nutty banter, which can be quite entertaining. All that and more to be heard in The Beatles in Studio - Rubber Soul (1965) and Rubber Soul (Think For Yourself) 1965 Session.
"I Loved it...I Loved it All" An eight minute film essay that Ned Judge co-produced and directed with Edward Abbey in 1985. At the time Judge was working for a network magazine show. The executive producer took him to lunch one day. He told him that he was having trouble with his son who was 18. The son thought his dad was a corporate whore. He had told his father if he had any balls at all he’d put Edward Abbey on his show. That’s why the EP was talking to him. Would Judge see if it was possible? Judge had an acquaintance who knew Ed and he passed the request along. Ed responded that he’d give it a try. He signed the contract and wrote a script. Judge and Abbey met in Moab and went out to Arches National Park to shoot some practice sessions with a home video camera. They would review them at the motel in the evening. After a day or two, Ed was feeling pretty comfortable on camera so they scheduled the shoot. They were all happy with the way it went. But then they ran head-on into network reality. Roger Mudd, the show’s host, was extremely negative about putting an “eco-terrorist” on the show. The executive producer caved (his son was right about him apparently). So this Abbey essay was put on the shelf and never aired. Abbey died 3 years later in March 1989. [more inside]
The beautiful library of the Abbey of St. Gall in Switzerland contains over 2000 manuscripts, including hundreds from the Abbey's glory days of the 9th and 10th centuries. The library is open to the public and to scholars, and the Codices Electronici Sangallenses project is making selected codices - 436 so far - available online.
"Historical dramas have a lot in common with science fiction when you consider how alien/exotic the settings might seem to a contemporary audience. As a kind of squeakquel to the Arthur C. Clarke maxim; “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” I’d like to assert that any sufficiently different set of social mores in a historical context is indistinguishable from an alternate universe. Consider the following bizzaro dimension: limited electricity, paranoia related to class struggles, shifting loyalties, and rigid caste system. Could it be Battlestar Galactica? Yes, But it’s also Downton Abbey!" [more inside]
Journey Through Canyons — a stunning HD time-lapse of the canyonlands in Arizona and Utah, featuring the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion Canyon. A thorough way to explore these magnificent geologic marvels is to follow The Hayduke Trail, one of America's Best Adventures.
The Beatles 'most famous' album cover inspires dozens of imitations
Mont St. Michel on the Normandy coast of France is a 12th century gothic abbey purched at the top of a tiny fortified village built around a small mountain; what's most unique about the location is that due to the very gentle incline of the coast, the mountain is located on salt marsh flats at low tide, but becomes an isolated island in the sea at high tide, accessible only by a raised road (added in the 1950s). It's also one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. While there are no shortage of photos of it online, this gallery had some of the most beautiful ones I'd ever seen. For those who can't make it to France, here's a quick guide to recreating the experience in miniature. warning - last link is from geocities, good for first six visitors only