Archive for london

Overnight: Tennyson: The Lady of Shalott



I consider this video a real find: Tennyson, Loreena McKennitt, pre-Raphaelite artists including Waterhouse, who painted the image above:

Alfred, Lord Tennyson Wiki

The Lady of Shalott Wiki

John William Waterhouse Wiki

Wiki for the Tate Gallery


The Book Booth: Mothers Day Edition



The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

A Happy Mothers Day to all our fine readers. Either you are a mother or you have a mother, (or both) and fine reasons for celebration. And, remember, books make great gifts for moms everywhere.

We are still observing the 450th birthday of the Bard of Avon and recently The Millions asked five Shakespeare experts what they thought was his greatest play. The scholars came up with some interesting answers and make compelling arguments for their choices. They are all wrong, of course. Not one picked The Tempest, Shakespeare's most mature and poetic play. You can find the expert choices here.

It is May and while the Derby has already been run, the Preakness and Belmont are coming up. Mothers Day is Sunday. Memorial Day isn't too far ahead. So you might want to start making your Summer vacation travel plans. With the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Grapes of Wrath, you may want to consider Steinbeck country. Monterey is a beautiful locale and there is much to see there. (HT to Lucian for finding this one).

If travel sparks the imagination, perhaps you may want to read about some adventurous travelers. Mary Miller at Publishers Weekly listed her favorite road novels and, oddly, Kerouac doesn't make the list. L. Frank Baum does.

Visiting foreign lands has its intrigue as well and perhaps there is no more intriguing city in Europe than Berlin. Rory MacLean recently offered his top ten Berliners in literature over at the Guardian.

Of course London can be quite lovely this time of year and Buzzfeed has twelve literary locales book lovers will enjoy.

If armchair travels into the past is your cup of tea, you wont need Wells' time machine to do so. Here are some suggestions from the Telegraph and its top 15 great works of Classical literature.

If you've been thinking of venturing into the realm of graphic novels, Brie Hiramine at Flavorwire believes these 25 titles to be essential. I haven't read all these myself, but I do highly recommend Persepolis, V for Vendetta and Maus, all richly imagined and well worth your time.

Ah, the aroma of old books! Here are some great quotes about being surrounded by musty volumes of lore and wisdom.

The New York Times Book Review recently took on the question of whether literary critics could make good novelists as well. It is an interesting question and I have no firm opinion myself. Susan Sontag's name comes up in both responses and while I admire her fiction, I do tend to remember her criticism with more admiration.

Sadly the news came this week of the passing of the splendid Canadian author Farley Mowat at age 92. His Never Cry Wolf had a profound influence on my attitudes about nature (and nature writing). The CBC has this remembrance.

A Happy Mothers Day to everyone. I will remember my mother who was a voracious reader and nurtured my love of books and reading this weekend. Please let us know what books you've got piled up and are enjoying!


Saturday Links



Saturday Links from The Political Carnival

Bank of England: Bankers may have to return bonuses

Oklahoma Fox station removes evolution from ‘Cosmos’ by cutting only 15 seconds

Busting the myth of France’s 35-hour workweek.

How Well Do You Know The World? Play GeoGuessr To Find Out.

Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview

Phoenix Residents Concerned Over Mysterious Surveillance Camera in their Neighborhood


Friday Links



Friday Links from The Political Carnival

Bank of England: Bankers May Have to Return Bonuses

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The Scale of the Search for Flight MH370 ('Keep clicking until you see the plane.')

The library is the last, best socialized institution in America today and you're about to lose it

Snowstorm Spawns Most Hilariously Comprehensive Forecast Ever

Why Does this Pocket Watch Cost $400,000?

President Obama Does 'Behind Two Ferns' - Right Wing Freaks Out (of course)

The Secret to Holding Your Breath for 20 Minutes


Friday Links


Friday Links from The Political Carnival

links from The Political Carnival

Photo: Vincent Jannink/EPA via

Photos: Sochi Olympics day 13 highlights

'Significant Escalation': Tensions Flare in German-Israeli Relations

As Scotland Mulls Independence, A Stupid London Plays It Dirty

Archdiocese Closes School Due To Lack Of Funds, Then Builds Palace For Bishop

The Dark Power of Fraternities

Bob Corker Wants a Race to the Bottom for Tennessee Workers

Striking Back: Germany Considers Counterespionage Against US

The California Drought: Who Gets Water and Who’s Hung Out to Dry?

Pennsylvania ‘faith-healing’ couple sent to prison after second child dies

Indian Maidens and Waterfalls -1- (from 'Vanished Places of the Southern Appalachians)


Video Mid Day Distraction- London lit up by New Year fireworks display



Sherlock Holmes Latest - The Dead Naked Spy In A Bag


old Scotland Yard

Oh, those wacky London Bobbies. Those police sleuths that gave birth to Scotland Yard, always considered a crack group of law investigators. Now I think they may just plain have cracked up.

Reading the story that follows, you'll see why. HuffPo:

LONDON (AP) — A spy whose naked, decomposing body was found inside a padlocked gym bag at his apartment likely died in an accident with no one else involved, British police said Wednesday — a tentative conclusion that is unlikely to calm conspiracy theories around the bizarre case.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said the death of Gareth Williams, whose remains were found inside a bag in his bathtub in August 2010, was "most probably" an accident.

Okay, let's consider the facts of this accident for a moment. I'm no Sherlock Holmes so some "obvious" details might escape me. But others don't.

Start with the victim-- a spy.

Williams, a cyberwarfare expert, worked for Britain's GCHQ eavesdropping service and was attached to the overseas espionage agency MI6 when he died.

He's naked inside a padlocked gym bag? How'd he lock it on the outside while he was inside? And this gym bag was found in the bathtub. Did he hop himself home from the gym and try to shower without taking the locked bag off?

Is this starting to sound a bit bizarre to you?

Maybe in the spy world you have to learn all kinds of skills, but I doubt hiding out naked inside a gym bag and contorting yourself enough to lock it from the outside is on that syllabus. So based on what does Hewitt declare this incident is probably an accident? What was he doing in the gym bag, then, practicing some long lost Houdini escape illusion?

Sherlock Holmes

When does common sense take over an investigation like this? To borrow from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle through his Holmes character, The Sign of the Four, ch. 6 (1890) (Doubleday p. 111)

 "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains,however improbable, must be the truth? "

I think Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Hewitt better revisit this crime. He seems to be focusing on the impossible, rather than the improbable and he's missing the truth. I'm not alone in this thinking. A number of experts don't agree with his finding either.

The police verdict also disagrees with a coroner's inquest, which concluded last year that Williams had probably been killed by another person in a "criminally meditated act."

Hewitt defends his findings, saying there was no evidence that the apartment had been cleaned to remove forensic traces and nothing to suggest a struggle or a break-in. Yet at the same time, the police say that the lock on the gym bag had no prints or DNA that matched the deceased spy. So what did Williams, the spy, do? Did he wipe down his own prints from the lock, remove all the DNA and then make the cleaning rag disappear?

Maybe the part that the Deputy Assistant Commissioner doesn't understand is that if the late Mr. Williams was done in by another spy, perhaps the assailant knew not to leave any evidence behind or leave the place looking suspicious. Maybe he even wiped down the lock this dead man supposedly secured from the inside.

You gotta hand it to the Brits-- they sure know how to make an interesting mystery story a page-turner. If there ever was a case that called for the fictional Holmes sleuthing, this would definitely qualify. I think Commissioner Hewitt might be like Inspector Lestrade, in a bit over his head.

"Pip pip, ol' boy. Stiff upper lip, Lad. We'll eventually get to the tea twigs at the bottom of the kettle."

Oh, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack.