Tuesday, 19 June 2018


I am off down the road
Where the fairy lanterns glowed
And the little pretty flitter-mice are flying
A slender band of gray
It runs creepily away
And the hedges and the grasses are a-sighing.
The air is full of wings,
And of blundery beetle-things
That warn you with their whirring and their humming.
O! I hear the tiny horns
Of enchanged leprechauns
And the padded feet of many gnomes a-coming!
O! the lights! o! the gleams! O! the little twinkly sounds!
O! the rustle of their noiseless little robes!
O! the echo of their feet - of their happy little feet!
O! the swinging lamps in the starlit globes.

I must follow in their train
Down the crooked fairy lane
Where the coney-rabbits long ago have gone.
And where silvery they sing
In a moving moonlit ring
All a twinkle with the jewels they have on.
They are fading round the turn
Where the glow worms palely burn
And the echo of their padding feet is dying!
O! it's knocking at my heart-
Let me go! let me start!
For the little magic hours are all a-flying.
O! the warmth! O! the hum! O! the colors in the dark!
O! the gauzy wings of golden honey-flies!
O! the music of their feet - of their dancing goblin feet!
O! the magic! O! the sorrow when it dies.
--J.R.R. Tolkein


The abandoned ruins of a beautiful medieval castle just outside Barcelona. 

This once-grand castle is over 1,000 years old, but now sits dilapidated, abandoned, and open for people to explore.

Castillo Torre Salvana dates back to the 10th century. It can be found just outside of the city of Barcelona and is little-known by most people, even many locals who live in the city.
The fortress-like castle is located next to the historic Colonia Güell, a purpose-built village for the workers of a nearby textile mill. The castle was partially destroyed in the Catalan Civil War in 1224. It has sat abandoned for centuries.
These days the ruins serve as a place where you can explore and capture some great photos. Many of the walls inside the castle have been eroded over time, but there are still distinct hallways and rooms to discover.
The second floor is intact and offers a great view over the surrounding former factory village of Colonia Güell. The village’s church was designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi and, like Castillo Torre Salvana, is not very well known. The church can be seen from the castle’s second-floor windows, so you can experience two of Barcelona’s hidden gems at the same time.
Know Before You Go
The easiest way to visit Castillo Torre Salvana is by car since it is outside of the city. Once you arrive in the village of Colonia Guell, park the car in front of the Church (it's the first car parking area you see as you enter the village).If you are looking in the direction of the Church, Castillo Torre Salvana will be directly behind you. You should be able to see it, but if you can't, walk across the dirt road in the direction of Castillo Torre Salvana and it will come into view. From there everything should be easy to figure out.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Russia’s Most Popular Conspiracy Theory Is All But Unknown in the U.S.

It implicates American intelligence in undermining Russian culture.

A popular conspiracy theory links the decline of Russian culture to American intelligence.

A popular conspiracy theory links the decline of Russian culture to American 

intelligence. PUBLIC DOMAIN

CONSPIRACY THEORIES, LIKE JOKES, DO not translate easily across cultures. Rooted in the anxieties of the place that spawned them, theories popular in one part of the world may never penetrate another. In Russia, a conspiracy theory focused on an American plot to gut Russian culture—known as the Dulles Doctrine or the Dulles Plan—is so well known it has its own meme. But as The New York Times notes, this theory “may seem obscure to Westerners.”
A former employee of the Internet Research Agency, one of the organizations indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for interfering in the 2016 presidential election, had to write an essay on the plan as part of his job application, the Timesreports. In Russia, the Dulles Plan is “perhaps the most popular ‘indigenous’ post-Soviet conspiracy theory,” says Alexander Panchenko, a literary scholar at the the Russian Academy of Sciences, who’s studying the plan and its influence. The faux document at the heart of the conspiracy theory is supposed to lay out a strategy for undermining Russian power by sowing “chaos and confusion”—to defeat Russia by destroying its people from the inside.
The Dulles Plan first bubbled up in the early 1990s, not long after the fall of the Soviet Union. Attributed to Allen Dulles, the first civilian head of U.S. intelligence, and supposedly written in the 1940s, the plan explains in grandiose prose how America can defeat Russia by undermining the country’s foundational values.
The idea, according to the text, is to “hammer into the people’s consciousness the cult of sex, violence, sadism, and betrayal, in a word, immorality,” with the help of “our accomplices, helpers, and allies in Russia herself.” In this corrupted version of Russia, “Bureaucratic red-tape will be elevated to a virtue. Honesty and orderliness will be ridiculed as being of no use to anyone, an anachronism.” The whole country will be led into moral turpitude: “Rudeness and insolence, lies and deceit, drunkenness and drug-addiction, animal fear of everyone and everything, indecency, betrayal, nationalism, and strife between ethnic groups, and above all hatred for the Russian ethnos: we’ll cultivate all of that, quietly and skillfully.”
Allen Dulles was the first civilian head of American intelligence.

Allen Dulles was the first civilian head of American intelligence. CENTRAL 

References to the Dulles Plan first surfaced in a pro-Communist newspaper, Narodnaja Pravda, in 1992 and soon started popping up across the Russian media. From its first appearances, it was twisted up with other conspiracy theories: one early article, by a religious leader in the Orthodox church, put the Dulles Plan alongside the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as an explanation for Russia’s moral decline.
But soon researchers and reporters sussed out an earlier, fictional version of the plan, published in the novel The Eternal Call (Vechnyi Zov). One of the book’s villains, a Trotskyite and Nazi collaborator, lays out this vision of a plan to defeat Russia after World War II. The book, says Panchenko, has an anti-Semitic undercurrent, too, eliding Trotskyism and Judaism into an enemy force. The book’s author, Anatoly Ivanov, first wrote the passage in the early 1970s, but it didn’t pass through censors and into print until the 1980s.
Even after the Dulles Plan was traced to this fictional account, though, its popularity did not diminish. “This fake document has been more influential in shaping the Russian popular historical consciousness and memory of the Cold War than any of the reams of genuine archival documents that have been declassified in recent decades,” writes the University of Melbourne’s Julie Fedor, who specializes in modern Russian history. It’s a useful tool for explaining the changes that have transformed Russian culture in the post-Soviet era. In the Dulles Plan meme, the text reads “план даллеса не существует но действует”—“The Dulles Plan: Does not exist, still works.”
“The Dulles Plan: Does not exist, still works.”

“The Dulles Plan: Does not exist, still works.” LURKMORE/CC BY 3.0

But not everyone believes the plan is fake, either. “Now, its supporters would discuss either Ivanov’s prophetic gift that allowed him somehow mystically learn about the intentions of Dulles or his contacts with certain KGB officers that shared with him their knowledge of the CIA secret plans,” says Panchenko.
Though supporters of the theory have sometimes hinted they could produce documents proving the connection, there’s no actual evidence of an American intelligence plot to undermine Russian culture. The power of the Dulles Plan comes from its worth as a catch-all explanation for any changes in Russia that are perceived as negative: If the culture is falling apart, don’t look at anyone in power in Russia. It’s obviously a CIA plot to rot the heart of Russia’s power.

The Most Unusual Menus From Libraries Around the World

Featuring fur, space flight, and Abraham Lincoln.

Unusual menus can take many forms.
Unusual menus can take many forms. COURTESY THE WOMAN’S CLUB OF 



IN SCHOLARLY CIRCLES, MENUS ARE called “ephemera,” along with sheet music, posters, and pamphlets. That is, they are paper with a transient purpose: printed to advertise, to sell, or to inform about an issue or upcoming event. As the term suggests, ephemera was never meant to last, and unbound paper is obligingly impermanent.
The history of the menu isn’t all that long, and its origins are murky. Menus were needed once restaurants became gathering places that served a variety of foods, starting in 18th-century Paris. Later banquets often provided printed menus as souvenirs for attendees, who could take a soup-spattered piece of paper home to dream about delicacies past. Today, nearly every restaurant has a menu, and some even let you take one home.
Not many libraries have menus collections, but they are still a vital part of the historical record that reveals tastes, trends, and even local environmental conditions. Menu collections are often passion projects, gathered by enthusiasts over a lifetime. Perhaps the most famous examples are Frank M. Buttolph, who collected 25,000 menus that eventually ended up at the New York Public Library, or Louis Szathmary, a chef whose collection is split between two universities and ranges from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball to a space-age feast. A quick tour through menu collections from around the world reveals a wide range of interesting or unusual holdings, from the elegant to the esoteric to the downright furry.
Makes you wonder where the fur came from.
Makes you wonder where the fur came from. THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF 


Conrad N. Hilton Library at the Culinary Institute of America

Roadkill Cafe Menu

The Conrad N. Hilton Library in New York is a part of the other CIA, the Culinary Institute of America. The library houses 30,000 menus from 80 countries dating back to 1855, and features notable examples from famed restaurateurs and chefs. But it also has this furry menu, which is a bit of a mystery. It was donated to the library by a Patty O’Neill, and it’s almost certainly a novelty item, offering delicacies such as “Flat Cat,” “Caribou Stew,” and a range of dog dishes, from “German Shepard Pie” to “Collie Hit by a Trolley.”
We suppose they had to run out at some point.

We suppose they had to run out at some point. CHARLES KINGSFORD-SMITH, 


National Library of Australia

First Battalion A.I.F. Association Dinner Souvenir Menu, October 20, 1928

The National Library of Australia’s ephemera collection includes this menu for a reunion dinner of the First Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force (the full menu can be seen here). According to the Australian War Memorial, they were “the first infantry unit recruited for the AIF in New South Wales during the First World War.” At this beery memorial event 10 years after the end of the war, the guests of honor were famed aviators Charles “Smithy” Kingsford-Smith and Charles Ulm. Earlier that year, they had made the first transpacific flight—from Oakland, California, to Brisbane, Australia. Within ten years, both men had disappeared, their planes going down at sea.
A mysterious Freemason's menu.



Biblioteca Gastronomica Academia Barilla

Freemason Grandmaster Banquet Menu, December 18, 1892

Barilla, along with being the world’s biggest pasta brand, also has a gastronomic library in Parma, Italy. Their menu collection clocks in at 5,000. This triangular menu, covered in arcane symbols, comes from a banquet held at the Naples Masonic Lodge in 1892 to honor the Grandmaster of the Grand Orient of Italy, Adriano Lemmi, a banker and merchant. It was a sumptuous affair, featuring the prized oysters of Lake Fusaro in Campania and hearty rosbif, or roast beef.
"Just Oysters," anyone?

New York Public Library

Thirteen Club Menu, December 13, 1906

The New York Public Library has one of the world’s most prominent and public menu collections. Of its 45,000 menus, many are digitized and available online. More than 25,000 of them had been collected by Frank M. Buttolph in the early 20th century and, like the menu here, are marked with her trademark blue stamp. This menu is one of several from the Thirteen Club, a supper club whose goal was to rehabilitate the number 13 and make fun of superstition. Meals often had 13 courses, members sat 13 to a table, and dinners took place on the 13th of the month. The above “simplified” menu was probably a send-up of a concerted effort by philanthropists and politicians in 1906 to simplify American English for the benefit of society.
Yerba mate has been trendy for a while.

Yerba mate has been trendy for a while. COURTESY THE WOMAN’S CLUB OF



University of Miami Libraries

Blue Pheasant Tea Room Menu, 1921–23

From the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove Records at the University of Miami comes this appropriately coconut-husk-wrapped menu. Founded as the Housekeepers Club in 1891, it is Florida’s first and oldest women’s organization. Flora McFarlane started the organization to ease the isolation of homesteading women in the still-rural Miami area. Over more than a century, the club has supported environmental preservation in the Everglades and lobbied for social welfare issues in the state and abroad. This menu came from the Club’s Blue Pheasant Tea Room, which, according to the Club’s website, was operated in the early 1920s as a fundraising venture.
Nothing like a "vodkacola" to start the day off right.

Nothing like a “vodkacola” to start the day off right. LOUIS SZATHMARY AND 



University of Iowa

Menu from National Space Institute Gala Breakfast to Celebrate the Apollo-Soyuz Lift-Off, July 15, 1975

Hungarian-American chef Louis Szathmary had quite a life. His collection of cookbooks, menus, and cooking-related objects, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands, took up 31 rooms. A celebrity chef with an equally famous restaurant, Chicago’s The Bakery, Szathmary created the menu for this breakfast gala, a celebration of the first joint U.S.-Soviet space flight. The collaborative spirit was epitomized by the cocktail of choice, Russian vodka mixed with American Coca-Cola. A dish created for the occasion was Eggs Apollo-Soyuz, with all-American Smithfield ham and Russian sturgeon. The dish also includes stroganoff sauce and Bontrae, a soy-based “ham of tomorrow.” The menu is signed with Szathmary’s iconic caricature-signature.
The front of Valhalla's menu, with a suggestive single leg.

The front of Valhalla’s menu, with a suggestive single leg. LOS ANGELES 


Los Angeles Public Library

Valhalla Restaurant Menu, 1950s

The Los Angeles Public Library has almost 16,000 menus in its archives, many of which have been digitized. One of the highlights of their collection is this menu from Valhalla, a long-gone restaurant in Sausalito, California. Though founded in 1870, the restaurant was given a new lease on life in 1950 when it was purchased by Sally Stanford, a famous San Francisco madam whose notorious, popular brothel was shut down the year before. Valhalla advertised itself as the haunt of movie-makers, rum-runners, and Jack London, while serving high-end American cuisine. (The whole menu is visible here.) In 1976, Stanford was elected mayor of Sausalito.
Guests didn't behave very presidentially at this dinner.

Guests didn’t behave very presidentially at this dinner. FROM THE 



Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson and Wales University

Abraham Lincoln’s Presidential Inauguration Ball Bill of Fare, March 6, 1865

The Culinary Arts Museum isn’t open to the public; it’s a resource for students and researchers. But many of its 200,000 objects of culinary interest are digitized and available online. Louis Szathmary donated much of his collection to Johnson and Wales, including this menu for the Presidential Ball celebrating Lincoln’s second term in office. Szathmary believed this menu to be only one of three still in existence. It features typical high-end American cuisine of the time, including terrapin, renowned for its luscious taste. Other dishes included ornamental pyramids of “nougate” or “cocoanut” and “white coffee” ice cream. When the banquet was served at midnight, guests descended on it in a frenzy, creating a huge mess. Chillingly, this boisterous feast came a little more than a month before Lincoln’s assassination.


The literary world has produced some of the most beloved dogs of all time – think Timmy from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five or Eric Knight’s Lassie, who went to inspire a long list of on-screen adaptations. But it’s not just authors – artists and photographers have also paid tribute to our four-legged friends, snapping them for glossy coffee table tomes, and capturing them in pen, paint and ink. So without further ado, here’s 8 of the best reads for all you dog-loving bookworms.  
Old Toffer's Book of Consequential Dogs Christopher Reid
This follow-up to TS Eliot’s Book of Practical Cats waxes poetic about dogs of all pedigrees. Verses about Flo the Philosophical Foxhound and Frazzlesprat – a pooch who nurtures ambitions of being a cat – are accompanied by charming illustrations by Elliot Elam, who’s a deft hand at capturing the waggy tails and head tilts we love so much. Due for release on the 6th September, we will be giving some lucky readers the chance to win signed copies. Join our community of modern dog lovers to be the first to enter!In Defense of Dogs by John Bradshaw IN DEFENCE OF DOGS BY JOHN BRADSHAW
If you’ve ever wanted to delve into your dog’s behaviour, you might find some answers in this book by biologist John Bradshaw. It dispenses with long-held myths and misconceptions about the inner wolf, instead exploring the psychological reasons behind why pooches behave the way they do.  
Flush by Virginia Woolf 
Virginia Woolf – an unlikely name for the world of dog biography – fictionalised the life of much-loved spaniel Flush in this book, which borrows details from letters written by his owner and poet Elizabeth Barrett. This one’s a more lighthearted read than Woolf’s other novels, described by The Guardian as “an afternoon’s delight for dog-loving readers”. “It’s wit and whimsy and sniffing, snuffling playfulness will amuse anyone who’s ever known a spaniel,” wrote Justine Hankins for the paper.  
Dogs by Tim Flach 
London photographer Tim Flach has a natural ability when it comes to documenting dogs. His simply named coffee table collection brings together pooches of all kinds – everything from Crufts superstars to humble hounds, all photographed at choice moments.  
Call Of The Wild by Jack London 
No list of literary dogs would be complete without Jack London’s Call of the Wild. The novel follows the story of Buck, a pampered pup turned feral dog who shows some serious dedication to his rescuer. This one’s an absolute classic, and questions just where the line between domesticated pet and fearsome wolf lies.  
Really Good Dog Photography by Lucy Davies 
Work by more than 30 photographers is brought together in this book, which explores our relationship with our four-legged friends, as well as the visual history surrounding them. There’s portraits of all kinds to be enjoyed here, everything from William Wegman’s refined Weimareners, to Sophie Gamand’s wet shaggy dogs. 
Snoopy philosophy 
He might only be a cartoon dog, but Snoopy is perhaps the best-loved beagle in the world. Based on one of Charles M Schulz’s own pets, he’s appeared in hundreds of comic strips atop his trademark red kennel – a stand-in for the Sopwith Camel he pilots. Who better to share their take on life? 
Beloved Dog by Maira Kalman 
This love letter to pups, by New York Times visual columnist Maira Kalman, is both moving and amusing in equal measure. It recounts the stories of her many pooch encounters, including with her own terrier Pete – a mischievous Irish Wheaten, and “a very good dog”. Buy it for Kalman’s beautiful illustration work, but keep it for the stories.