I'm currently in the middle of re-watching the excellent Civil War documentary by Ken Burns, so this particular item feels extra significant to me at the moment. It's The Anti-Slavery Alphabet, published for an Anti-Slavery Fair in 1846 and created by Quakers Hannah and Mary Townsend of Philadelphia. The alphabet consists of sixteen leaves, printed on one side, with the printed pages facing each other and hand-sewn into a paper cover. Each of the letter illustrations is hand-colored. The target audience for this book, as you might expect, was children who the Townsends hoped would adopt an Abolitionist point of view. History tells us, of course, that it would take more than 20 years and a bloody Civil War for the Abolitionists' dream to become reality. All images courtesy the Mississ
When Popdose Grand Poobah Jeff Giles asked me to write a list article for his site, I couldn't say no. The only question I had for him was, "what content restraints am I working under?" He said, "none." I'm sure he'll come to regret that answer in the coming weeks, but hopefully not now. For today my chosen topic is music autobiography, or musiphy as it's known in the industry. We've seen some great ones in recent years -- Mötley Crüe's The Dirt, Ace Frehley's No Regrets, and Bob Dylan's Chronicles just to name three. But what about all the legendary musicians we haven't heard from yet? Like James Hetfield of Metallica, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, or... well, you can read all about that on Popdose.
While the nation should be celebrating another win by my Rutgers Scarlet Knights, apparently it's considered bigger news that Notre Dame is back at #1 for the first time in 19 years. In fact, almost exactly 19 years. Before this week, the Fighting Irish last held the top spot in college football in the poll released November 16, 1993. To put all of this into context, here's what was going on in the world of American pop culture the last time Notre Dame was at the top of the college football world. Top 10 Movies 1. Addams Family Values 2. The Three Musketeers 3. Carlito's Way 4. My Life 5. Mrs. Doubtfire 6. Man's Best Friend 7. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 8. The Remains of the Day 9. Cool Runnings 10. A Perfect World Will you look at that -- the top movie of...
I've always been a lover of anthropomorphic art, so when I found this old children's book from 1904 on the internet I was pretty jazzed. It's called Fun and Nonsense, and was written by Willard Bonte. I know nothing of Mr. Bonte, and Wikipedia offers no help, but his contribution to the world of illustrated children's literature is spectacular indeed. Clicking on most of the images will open larger versions. Enjoy! (Images obtained from the International Children's Digital Library.)
New for 1955, it's the wonderful RCA Victor television... available in fifty shades of grey! Because who needs color? (For more Almost Ads, click here.)
For those of you who, like me, are reasonably intelligent folks who have long wondered why you weren't bestowed with outrageous genetic gifts like musical genius or athletic ability, have I got the book for you! It's The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ by David Shenk. OK, I'm being a little facetious. But honestly, Shenk's book offers a lot more than just a purely scientific analysis of the nature/nurture debate. To my surprise, The Genius in All of Us is a bit of a hybrid -- part case study, part self-help/motivational literature. He lays out the premise right away in the prologue, telling the story of how baseball legend Ted Williams became one of the game's most feared sluggers not by sheer chance (nature), but by simply busting his ass for years (nurt
Here’s a look at America’s top movies, music, and books for the week of January 5-11, 1992. While a lot of the Top 10 movies have since faded into the mists of memory, look at those albums. Most of those were huge then and are still. Sorry MC Hammer, no one cares about you anymore. Note: Old Nielsen TV ratings seem to be hard to come by, so if anyone can point me toward a reliable source I'd be most appreciative. Top 10 Movies 1. Hook 2. Father of the Bride 3. The Prince of Tides 4. Beauty and the Beast 5. JFK 6. The Last Boy Scout 7. Bugsy 8. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country 9. The Addams Family 10. Cape Fear I can say that I've only seen two of the movies on this list. Can you guess which ones? Top 10 Albums 1. Nirvana, Nevermind 2. Garth Brooks, Ropin' the Wind
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I offered to review Phill Brown's music career memoir, Are We Still Rolling? Studios, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll – One Man’s Journey Recording Classic Albums. I had never even heard of Brown before, although he was apparently already well-known to music aficionados. It ended up being a very good read, even though it did get a bit bogged down in technical blather -- but after all, Brown spent the bulk of his career as an engineer. One of the more pleasant and unexpected benefits of reading the book was that I got turned on to some albums and artists I might otherwise have continued to ignore. For instance, it turns out that not only is Robert Palmer's debut LP -- Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley -- a really well-produced and engineered album, it's al