The Eight Taoist Immortals

Although the One Million Days in China exhibition which ran at the Glasgow Museum is now finished, the online exhibition remains. One Million Days in China ran at The Burrell Collection from July 2004 to February 2005, and explored and celebrated 4000 years of Chinese history and culture through Sir William Burrell’s world-class collection of Chinese art.

CHINA: THE THREE EMPERORS, 1662-1795: China: The Three Emperors, 1662&1795

From the page: “China: The Three Emperors, 12 November 2005 17 April 2006
This magnificent exhibition is devoted to the artistic and cultural riches of Imperial China. Spanning the reigns of three Emperors, Kangxi (1662-1722), Yongzheng (1723-35) and Qianlong (1736-95), it focuses on the most powerful rulers of China’s last dynasty: the Qing. Each Emperor employed the greatest artists and workshops of his day to glorify his rule.

China: The Three Emperors, features over 370 treasures, including precious robes and palace furnishings, paintings and painted scrolls, weapons and ceremonial armour, clocks and astronomical instruments, antique jades and bronzes, ingenious scientific instruments, the finest porcelain, carvings and lacquer ware, elegant furniture, a sedan chair and an imperial throne.”

Beautiful site with lots of images.

Deer Mouse Christmas Card

Twas the Night before Christmas Poem by Clement Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her `kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, `ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

“Europe’s comet-hunting Rosetta probe caught this glance of the Earth and moon as it passed through our planetary neighborhood during its March 4, 2005 flyby. The spacecraft maintained a constant moon-facing orientation during the swing past Earth, catching this image just three minutes before making its closest approach – about 1,954 kilometers – above the Pacific Ocean west of Mexico.”

Society & Cosmology: Humans, Life, the Universe and Everything

“There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

Douglas Adams
English humorist & science fiction novelist (1952 – 2001)

There are places I’ll remember all my life
Though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I’ll love you more

Given today’s date I thought this was appropriate, my old family home, gone forever, changed and not for better.

Incidently, I have heard that ‘In My Life’ was Paul Mc Cartney’s favourite ‘John Lennon’ song.

Downfall Der Untergang

Downfall (2004) – Der Untergang

Downfall (2004) follows the dying days of the third Reich mostly from the viewpoint of Traudl Junge, Hitler’s personal secretary. I watched this last night on Channel 4, definitely not for the faint hearted, the scene where Magda Goebels kills her children is harrowing in the extreme.

Update: the original site I linked is now some kind of clickbait slimming website and the wayback machine doesn’t work properly for embedded videos. So good old Youtube has the trailer here:

Trailer in HD but no subtitles

Since my original post the film has generated a kind of momentum of its own. It has spawned many memes in the form of parodies normally based around the scene in the bunker where Hitler is flies into a rage.