A certain Mr. Charno took it upon himself to carve his name, the date, and most helpfully, the location of his crime, Provins, into the wall of the Caesar Tower in that charming Medieval town. Mr. Charno’s 1835 engraving pre-dates the graffiti found at Bodiam Castle by Mr. H. Wicks. Perhaps it should be comforting to know that there have been vandalising hooligans throughout history, and disrespect for historical monuments is not just a modern affliction.
All of this is positively modern compared to the graffiti that the Author witnessed at Krak des Chevaliers in Syria, where 12th Century Crusaders carved crosses into the castle walls. Alas, we don’t know how that marvelous castle stands today after being caught in the crossfire of the Syrian Civil War.
The Author adores museums devoted to a single category, such as the Clock Museum in Vienna. The Arithmeum in Bonn is another favorite. Completely dedicated to calculating machines, the Arithmeum has an array of devices ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to 17th Century Europe to our modern day. The beautiful intricacy of the early devices, with their hand cranks and delicate metal innards, is fascinating to the math-challenged Author. Fast forward a few hundred years and we have microchips, which when viewed through a microscope look more akin to modern art that mathematics.
The Arithmeum also hosts concerts. A delightful idea, but the Author’s poor, unfortunate ears weren’t sophisticated enough for the contemporary classical music on offer the night she visited. Three contemporary Hungarian composers (Zoltán Jeney, László Vidovszky and Balázs Horváth) performed together. Thus commenced a screeching racket of the dueling sounds of flute, violin, clarinet, cello, drums, piano and Lord knows what else. Suffice to say that, although the Author embraces her Hungarian heritage, contemporary Hungarian music isn’t quite to her liking.
Nearing the end of Where Angels Fear to Tread, the Author was brought to an abrupt stop by this mis-printed page. One wonders how the printer managed to produce a rogue Quadrilateral page in an otherwise respectable Penguin Classic edition.
What happens on page 107? The Author will never know*.
*Well, she could very well find another, properly printed, edition.
The Author has previously celebrated the styling of Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome, most notably his evolving facial hair and Casual Canoeing Costume. Henry Wellcome was a fascinating fellow: born in a Wisconsin log cabin, he went on to travel the world, make his fortune in pharmaceuticals and establish the Wellcome trust, one of the world’s largest private medical charities. His other achievements include building an impressive collection of masks (a few examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and wardrobe.
A rather impractical pince-nez promoting Teddy Roosevelt and his running mate Charles W. Fairbanks’ 1904 Presidential campaign. His opponent, Alton B. Parker, could’ve had a field day with jokes about Roosevelt supporters being unable to see the issues clearly (I would hope he’d come up with something snappier than that). It certainly didn’t hurt, as Teddy went on to win the Electoral College vote and 56% of the popular vote.