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Artistic Doodling: New Shank City

It started out as artistic doodling; a simple way to pass the time.

As I drew more characters, the beginnings of a minimalist story premise began to develop in my mind. This is certainly no thing of gravitas and profundity and has no aspirations to be that. For depth, you must check out the comic books of Neil Gaiman. This was just for whimsy.

One of the pictures below is a little fuzzy. I apologize for that and will work on getting a replacement, but in the meantime, I am hoping this one is decipherable.

Artistic doodling NewShank7 NewShank00 Newshank3 NewShank5

As you can see, what started off as doodles, spun into something more: pencil and ink drawings mounted in a glass-lidded, backlit shadow box. Occasionally the obsessive-compulsive spirit grabs hold of me and won’t let go.

Volcanic Eruptions, a.k.a. “For Those About to Rock…”

The Volcanic Explosiveness Index (VEI) was created by scientists in 1982 to give a relative sense of the explosive power of volcanic eruptions. It has 9 levels, running from zero at the mildest to 8. Considering that “catastrophic” is the descriptor for level 3, you can just imagine the literally earth shattering power of an […]

Medieval Riddles to Test Your Mind

Humans seem to have a historic need for riddles. Think “The Hobbit.” That’s historical, right? Or D&D’s “White Plume Mountain.” Again, totally historical. The oldest recorded riddle comes from the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus that dates to around 1650 BC. There are seven houses; In each house there are seven cats; Each cat catches seven mice; Each mouse would […]

A Child’s Guide: Ways to Avoid Eating Nasty Food

My earlier post about medieval food (Roo in a Sewe, 2/15/15) put me in mind of the following true story. As a kid I hated, oh, so many foods. Like most, I was good with the starch family, not so good with the legion of predatory vegetables, including, but not limited to brussel sprouts, cabbage, […]

The Wealthiest People in History

Every year, multiple newspapers run a list of the wealthiest people in history. The lists are all essentially the same, which either means they are accurate or some poor shlub’s initial research is being cribbed by everybody. Number one on the list, adjusted for inflation, is Mansa Musa, a 14th Century African king who today would be […]

Lord Dunsany: The Father of Fantasy

Some authors should never be forgotten. Today the spotlight falls on one of them: Lord Dunsany, an Irishman who lived from 1878-1957. A major influence on fantasy fiction, the absurdly gifted Lord Dunsany was a brilliant, inventive writer, the Irish national chess champion and an actual aristocrat. In fact, he was Edward John Moreton Drax […]

An Experience with the Society for Creative Anachronism

One of the things I love about John le Carré’s spy novels is that they often puncture the James Bondian myths of sinisterly perfect shadow ops, reminding us they can be run by the fallible, the petty and even the unlucky; in short, by human beings. Turns out that as dramatic music swells, the lantern-jawed […]

Fairy Tale Characters: Baba Yaga, the Slavic Witch

As fairy tale characters go, the Slavic-born Baba Yaga is one of the greats. She lives deep in the forest, as the witches of folk tales are wont to do, but has a number of colorful things that distinguish her from the rest of the pack. For instance, she flies about on a giant mortar, […]

The Art of American Money

This post is about money. Great, heaving gobs of filthy lucre. Actually it is about the denominations and art of American money, but why quibble? Check out this $5 bill from 1896. The design, which is titled, Electricity as the Dominant Force in the World, was part of a set of engravings now known as the Educational Series. […]

Unbelievable Public Library in New York

A great place to go if you are ever in New York City is the NY Public Library’s main branch at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. Because it is a library, a lot of tourists steer clear of the landmark building and head a couple blocks west to the bright lights, big city experience of […]