Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Time Traveller (3)

The Catalogue has copies of the 1502 plans that Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci produced for Ottoman Sultan Beyazid II of Constantinople as a civil engineering project for a single span 720-foot bridge intended to span an inlet at the mouth of the Bosporus known as the Golden Horn. Beyazid did not pursue the project because he believed that such a construction was impossible. Leonardo's vision was resurrected in 2001 when a smaller bridge based on his design was constructed in Norway (Wikipedia).

Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Time Traveller (2)

In the catalogue's index of great artists Mantegna, El Greco and Picasso are the recipients of the Silver Award, but with respect to the work of John Dewey only Time and Memory are credited as true artists as 'they remould reality nearer to the heart's desire.'

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Time Traveller (1)

For some reason the catalogue cannot identify the writer of the quote “Time travels at different speeds for different people. I can tell you who time strolls for, who it trots for, who it gallops for, and who it stops cold for.” The best candidate seems to be Rosalind Azulai.

Monday, 28 December 2015

A tide in the affairs of men

Once the return tide starts, it will be impossible to stem it, and it will prove our undoing. (Moshe Sharett)

Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Fate of the Great Elm

For all those who have contacted this Blog and expressed concern about the fate of the tree at the centre of the 2013 Great Elm crisis that spawned the whole alternative Seven Dials universe, we can assure readers that the Great Elm is still alive and well.

(Some avid followers of the blog have been arranging guided tours of the Seven Dials area. In the interest of avoiding punitive action by the local trading standards agency who act to protect consumer rights, it should be stressed that this imaginery Seven Dials is located roughly in the area of Hove, East Sussex, and has no connection with any other imaginery Seven Dials such as may be located in the Covent Garden area of London).

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Reason's Bleatings

A humbug is a person or object that behaves in a deceptive or dishonest way, often as a hoax or in jest. The term was first described in 1751 as student slang, and recorded in 1840 as a "nautical phrase". It is now also often used as an exclamation to mean nonsense or gibberish.

When referring to a person, a humbug means a fraud or impostor, implying an element of unjustified publicity and spectacle. In modern usage, the word is most associated with Ebenezer Scrooge, though latterly Professor Mundeign has been heard to use it seasonally.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Aigua Corrent

Since there was considerable disagreement amongst the the Index editors about the section on inland waterways, it was decided to avoid any unpleasantness by publishing the following article in Catalan. 

El Portsmouth and Arundel Canal era un canal al sud d'Anglaterra que corria entre Portsmouth i Arundel , que va ser construït el 1823 , però mai va ser un èxit financer i va ser abandonat en 1855 ; l'empresa es va acabar en 1888.  El canal era part d'un pla més ampli per a la construcció d'una ruta segura cap a l'interior del canal de Londres a Portsmouth , que va permetre a les embarcacions per moure entre els dos sense haver de endinsar-se al Canal Anglès i possiblement trobar naus enemigues o desastre natural . Va ser construït per l'empresa Portsmouth and Arundel Navigation.

Monday, 21 December 2015

We learnt how over there.

The Times section of the Mundeign Catalogue is concerned with horology and biology. The suprachiasmatic nucleus is a tiny region of the brain in the hypothalamus, situated directly above the optic chiasm. The neuronal and hormonal activities it generates regulate many different body functions in a daily cycle, using around 20,000 neurons. The SCN interacts with many other regions of the brain. It contains several cell types and several different peptides (including vasopressin and vasoactive intestinal peptide) and neurotransmitters. On the other hand you could get a quartz watch from Argos for less than a tenner.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Saturday, 19 December 2015

A meek ending

In the poetry section of the index there remains an enigma - an unpublished Browning poem is mentioned which bears a strong ressemblance to one by Longfellow. The original review mentioned a duplication in the two poems. The Longfellow version reads: 'He caught the words, "Deposuit potentes  De sede, et exaltavit humiles;" And slowly lifting up his kingly head He to a learned clerk beside him said, "What mean these words?" Whilst the Browning version appears as: 'He caught the words, "Deposuit potentes  De sede, et exaltavit humiles;"And slowly lifting up his kingly head He to a learned clerk beside him said, "What mean these words?"  Oddly however there is no other mention in the literature of the Browing version.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands

Professor Mundeign's review of European holiday destinations is a little outdated. He writes that all Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae. Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest, because they are furthest from the civilization and refinement of the Roman Province, and merchants least frequently resort to them, and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind; and they are the nearest to the Germans, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually waging war; for which reason the Helvetii also surpass the rest of the Gauls in valor, as they contend with the Germans in almost daily battles, when they either repel them from their own territories, or themselves wage war on their frontiers. All this is causing immense problems to EasyJet.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Walrus Gumboot

In the folk belief system called hoodoo, a Mojo is an amulet consisting of a flannel bag containing one or more magical items. It is a "prayer in a bag", or a spell that can be carried with or on the host's body. In Professor Mundeign's catalogue the idiosyncratic indexing includes the Mojo with the Urim and Thummim, and the new Waitrose polythene shopping basket.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

The waspish thorax

The uniform geometrical theory of diffraction is a high-frequency method for solving electromagnetic scattering problems from electrically small discontinuities or discontinuities in more than one dimension at the same point. Relevant to discontinuities is the obscure folder marked 'Sapygidae' (solitary aculeate wasps) in which a notebook containing the following observation was discovered by Professor Mundeign. 'I will show you something different from either your shadow at morning striding behind you or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.'

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Poetry and the History of Celeriac

Despite its reputation in the literary world, there is less information in Mundeign's catalogue on the poetry of Dejan Stojanovic than there is about about the apium graveolens var. rapaceum (aka celeriac).  Even though celeriac was already known in Italy during the 16th century, it took almost two centuries for it to make it to the tables of the rest of Europe.  In England it was only introduced in the 19th century via Alexandria. Essentially, it consists of a large, white, relatively smooth edible root tuber, crowned by bright green leaves with hard, thick stalks. Its taste is very strong and slightly peppery.  Celeriac is poor in vitamin C, but contains numerous trace elements. It is a nutritional vegetable which provides lots of energy, stimulates the metabolism and acts as a diuretic.

More information can be found in: 'Edible Medicinal and Non Medicinal Plants: Volume 9, Modified Stems, Roots and Bulbs' by T.K.Lim. (Springer, 2014)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Task of a Poetry Critic

In the considerably respected literature archive of Professor Mundeign's catalogue, the poetry review index is the Cinderella section. Few people have therefore read Ellis Gaunt's memorable critique of Stojanovic which focuses on the lines:

To be a wave understanding the influence of the moon; 
To be a tree and read the memory of the leaves; 
To be an insignificant pedestrian on the streets 
Of crazy cities watching, watching, and watching. 

― Dejan Stojanovic

Monday, 7 December 2015

The Landowners' Deposition

The Land Registry tracking archive which formed an integral element of the original Mundeign papers has, over the years, diminished in significance. However there remains an intriguing chapter which records the deposition by local landowners before the Sherif General (Southern Zone) which indexes the settlement pattern along the coastal areas which have been subject to irreversible erosion.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The health benefits of Earl Grey

Earl Grey was a close friend of Thomas William Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. Coke is remembered primarily as an agricultural reformer rather than a politician, however historians have questioned the idea that he can be credited with sparking the British Agricultural Revolution through the reforms he made to farming on his estates. He remained in robust health after his retirement, and in 1822 at the age of 68 (after 21 years as a widower) he married his 18-year-old god-daughter, and in his eighties had a fifth child. He took no pleasure in attending the House of Lords, however, describing it as "the hospital for incurables".

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Conjecture - Don't you ever ask them why.

Professor Mundeign was an inveterate sceptic. Whenever he received a detailed academic paper, his first instinct was to shred it. In this way his workload became manageable, and only those with the greatest perseverance managed to get referenced within his extensive archive. It was therefore only by chance and luck that the papers of Felix Prupaddle were saved for posterity. The Prupaddle conjecture posited the theory of numerical imbalance in heavy coagulants of the x-phylum. Initially his suggestions were received with universal derision, but over the decades more and more investigators came to realise that much of what he was suggesting could be picked up with evidence using electromagnetic rondation. As a result the conjecture is currently receiving revived interest within the discipline of Pataphysics (See  "The Myth of Sisyphus"). Just look at them and sigh.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Remains of the Ebony Bookcase

According to Lao Tzu, all difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small. The Mundeign catalogue began as a mere note slipped between the pages of a book on Quantum Neurology, and the recompilation of the catalogue after the great fire of Aix-en-Provence began after two building workers discovered a thin wedge of the original ebony bookcase that belonged to Casimir Mundane.