Daily Archives: July 28, 2012

Ambrose Bierce (The Devil’s Dictionary): on atropine, strychnine and…other poisons

Belladonna, n.: In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) Discuss

Today’s Birthday: MALCOLM LOWRY (1909)


Malcolm Lowry (1909)

Lowry was an English writer known for his articulation of the spiritual desolation of the modern individual. His reputation rests on the semi-autobiographical 1947 novel Under the Volcano. Set in Mexico—from which Lowry was once deported—it recounts the last day of a dispirited, alcoholic, former British consul. Though critically praised, it received popular recognition only after Lowry’s death—probably from the effects of alcoholism—at 47. What is listed as his official cause of death? More… 


Today’s in History: THOMAS CROMWELL IS EXECUTED (1540)

Thomas Cromwell Is Executed (1540)

Arguably the architect of the Reformation, Cromwell was an English statesman who gained nearly complete control of the government as the closest advisor of King Henry VIII of England. Cromwell abused his power but only fell from Henry’s favor after convincing him to marry Anne of Cleves, whom Henry found unattractive. After the marriage fizzled, Anne was sent away with a generous pension, but Cromwell was beheaded—on the same day that Henry did what?  More…

John Williams: Theme from ‘The Accidental Tourist’ (piano solo …

John WilliamsTheme from ‘The Accidental Tourist‘ (piano solo 

John Williams (1932- ) – the composer not the guitarist – needs no introduction from me. This transcription of the main theme from William’s Oscar-nominated score for the 1988 William Hurt / Kathleen Turner/ Geena Davis movie appears in the ‘John Wiliams Antholocy compilation (ISBN 723188617746). The portion of the sountrack most frequently recorded is the closing credits music, and I have not actually heard the orchestral version of this particular extract. but the piece is very pianistic. The transcriber is not identified but may well the the same person who did the excellent transcription of the theme from ‘Presumed Innocent’ which appears in the same anthology and is prepared to a similarly high standard . Williams’ music seems to me a fascinating (and incredibly successful) blend of elements from Copland, Barber, Bernstein and Rachmaninov (and perhaps Prokofiev in pieces like the ‘Parade of the Ewoks‘). –

– Played by Philiip Sear-  http://www.psear.co.uk

John Williams, composer of the first three fil...

John Williams, composer of the first three films and creator of Hedwig’s Theme. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Eggs Promising in Treating Egg Allergies

Studies of children with peanut allergies have shown that gradual exposure to peanuts can reduce and sometimes eliminate theallergy, and a new study shows that the same holds true for eggs. After 22 months of daily exposure to gradually increasing amounts of egg protein powder, 75 percent of allergic children were able to consume the equivalent of two eggs without having an adverse reaction. Even after the daily egg therapy was discontinued, some of the children remained allergy-free. Study authors caution parents not to try this treatment at home, as doing so without proper supervision could have dangerous consequences. More… Discuss





Parallax is the apparent change in the position of an object resulting from a change in the position of the observer. The effect is useful in calculating the distances of stars from Earth, as stars appear to shift in relation to each other from different points in Earth’s orbit. Parallax can affect the accuracy of photographers and snipers, who may see a target from an angle different than that of their instruments. What does parallax have to do with why pigeons bob their heads? More…