I've decided the New Year's Day meal will be a simple Hopping John because of its associations with luck and wealth and folkloric good fortune. I've read this on the history of it and why it doesn't usually tun out well because of the inferior ingredients used now. I don't have time to order artisanal gold Carolina Rice or heritage red cowpeas from here so where in NYC can I find thier equilvents? [more inside]
Visiting Edinburgh in January and wondering what the hot new things to do, eat, see, or experience there since my last trip 3 years ago. We usually enjoy unusual museums and collections, vintage menswear , fine dining, LGBT stuff, and historical tours and sites like the Mary King's Close tour (We're both suckers for the macabre). [more inside]
We're NYCers going on a 2 week trip to Toronto on the 26th. We've never been! What are the new exciting sites? The old established stuff? (Again, we've never been!) We like history, werid engineering dork stuff, movie stuff, dive bars, gayness, unusual stores and secondhand vintage menswear. We don't drive, but we'd like a nice trip out of town by train or even bus. Exciting cuisine a must overall. [more inside]
I'm looking for an essay I read in a collection of critical essays on the origins of literary genres - its thesis was that since the gothic tradition often reversed or undermined mainstream Victorian ideals, it could be seen as a sublimated response to colonial guilt that couldn't be expressed in public. The argument tied it into the practice of keeping looted Egyptian mummies in parlors and the first sprouts of Gothic arriving from the idea of something old and dead and foreign in your home that might be out for revenge. Ring any bells?
I'm looking for resources and sources on daily life for an average MGM contract player in 1940s - what an average working day looked like -- ideally focusing on mundane details like hours worked, how did you get there, union rules, where you entered and left, where you could and couldn't go etc. The more workaday the better. I've allready gone through Charles Brackett's diaries and halfway through MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot ( which is good for physical locations so far), but its not as focused on the physical operations as I'd like.
I'm looking for online resources describing daily life and struggles in rural New England in the 1800s, ideally around the mid-century period and in Vermont/New Hampshire. Narratives favored over statistics but non-fiction favored over fiction.
My favorite part of museums these days are the visible storage units. My favorite part of natural history museums are old-fashioned drawers filled with air-tight cases. I want to know more about the history and practice of storing/preserving art objects, paintings, sculpture, textiles, etc. What books/websites should I be reading to find out more? The more weirdly medium specific and detailed the better. Strange anecdotes very much welcome.
I want to write about obscure and little known gin cocktails, ideally ones with fun stories attached or a vintage pedigree . What are your favorite obscure gin cocktails? The more outlandish and exotic the better.
This envelope with a letter inside was found inside a large decaying bound edition of Shakespeare auf Deutsch in a junk shop in Bushwick that was only apparently open for a few months before disappearing. The letter, postmarked 15 March, 1939 - was sent to Paris by a Mr. Henri Wolf. The contents of the letter appear to be German shorthand. Included was small piece of what looks like code, there's nothing else on the back.The letter, envelope, postcard, etc in question are at this imgur album. Hivemind: What the hell is this?
Are there any real-life historical examples of the Small Town With A Terrible Secret horror trope? Towns where long-term, ongoing crimes (or unsavory religious practices one supposes) where purposefully covered up and kept hidden from the outside world and any attempt to investigate them resulted in the investigator being detained, thrown out, or killed?
Driving Around Dublin: SO and I will be visiting Ireland (Dublin and Cork) for about a week and half right after Christmas and we'll have a car. What are some fun, interesting day trips from the two cities (or stops along the way between them?) [more inside]
I always hear that the traditionally heavy US diet ( or any " traditional" cuisine, really ) was developed for people working long hard hours of manual labor, farm work, etc., so what did the people who had sedentary, less active jobs eat? What were the historical diets of people who didn't haul lumber through the woods or dig ditches, but recorded numbers or did accounting or translated documents?
Settle A Couple's Fight: Has there ever seen a case , in a situation where the composer of the music and the writer of the words are separate people, the librettist is more famous and his contribution is popularly viewed as superior to the composer?
Point me toward movies were a rag-tag bunch of outsiders shake up this stuffy small town! I'm looking for the opposite of this question, canonical examples of the Outsiders Cause Chaos In A Small Town trope, from The Music Man to Pleasantville (Or ..The Devil's Rejects). Any genre, any peroid, just so long as a town is turned upside-down, inside-out, or gored to death.
Tell me about growing up in a small town in the 50s: I'm looking for books, articles, memoirs, interviews, etc that describe or detail growing up in a single industry town in American Rust Belt the late 50s. Ideally I'm looking for stories in places like Braddock or Centralia, mill or mine towns located in the Central Pennsylvania-ish area. [more inside]
Is there a Medieval Linguist in the house? I need a very short conversation between Cistercian nuns in Saxony translated into Medieval Latin. Any help so I don't sound like a complete idiot warmly welcomed. [more inside]
On Tuesday I'll be showing a new arrival to New York City around for an hour or so in the late afternoon. He's interested in the city's history, particularly the Bowery/Lower East Side. He has seen all the major tourist stops and I'm completely ignorant of the latest cool/interesting/weird spots downtown and most places have the lifespan of mayflies. Any ideas on how to prepare an awesome, emergency walking tour? [more inside]
You live at Versailles in 1658. You're nobility of the blood. You know the King. What drugs, drinks, or other ways of getting totally fucked up are available to you? How often could you partake before people started to Have A Problem with it? [more inside]
Emergency Research Materials Needed: Due to not being an adult about things I now have to write a quick story set during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. And I have to finish it by Sunday. Yes, I've already read Wikipedia. [more inside]
Scandals Of the Last Century? Does anyone know of strange stories, remarkable escapes, unbelievable coincidences, and headline-grabbing scandals from about 1880-1905? [more inside]