February 15th, 2005

Roman festival of Lupercalia.

From http://londonpicaresque.blogspot.com/2005/02/palatine-hill.html (from my friend Katherine's blog, syndicated as london_kate:

"Way back when, 15 February was celebrated in honor of either Lupercus, Rumina, Inuus or Faunus. Never the sort to let spiritual ambiguities stand in the way of a good streaking festival, the Romans involved two young noblemen being stripped naked on the Palatine Hill, rubbed down with scented oils, and sent running through the streets of Rome with sticks and goatskin lashes, smacking whomever they came across. And if one of their lash-ees happened to be a nubile young lady? It was supposed to INCREASE HER FERTILITY."

Bernberg Museum of Costume

In my continuing attempt to do the work of the Gauteng provincial tourism office:

I actually never got past the parking lot of this little museum, which I found as I was driving around Jo'burg's northern reaches, on my way from the Military Museum to dinner. I saw the sign for the museum, and the words "Costume" and "Museum", which set off the "must get info for bedfull_o_books" alarm. I pulled into the parking lot and wrote down all the details for a future visit with her.

Then I lost the notebook.

Fortunately, there are websites:

http://www.places.co.za/html/bernberg.html has a couple of pictures and a longish description, which begins:

"Get a fascinating glimse [sic] into the history of women's costume over the last two centuries. The Bernberg Museum is a branch of MuseuMAfrica, but in a separate building."

http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2760501-bernberg_fashion_museum_johannesburg-i actually lists contact information and hours

Corner of Duncombe and Jan Smuts Avenue, Forest Town, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2193 South Africa

Category: Museums & Galleries
Phone: +27 11 646 0716

"Dedicated followers of fashion and style slaves come out from behind your Gucci shades and Diesel caps and delve into the fascinating world of fashion history. The often bizarre rituals of fashion over the centuries, particularly in South Africa, are on show at the Bernberg Fashion Museum. From the embarrassingly silly to the ridiculously tedious, humans appear to have done it all when it comes to clothing. The museum is closed on Sundays, as well as on Christmas Day, Good Friday and the Day of Goodwill. Parking is available on site and admission is free."

Open Hours: 9am-5pm Tue-Sat

The place is very small; that much I could tell from the outside. One of the other sites I've seen says it's temporarily closed, and other sites disagree with the above hours, so it's probably worth calling ahead. Besides, if you call ahead, I think they can arrange guided tours.

Thai Chess, or Makruk Thai.

I was waiting for a Chao Phraya Express boat one late afternoon. It was before rush hour, because while waiting, I had enough time to join the group of spectators around a couple of guys playing chess.

After a while I began to notice they were not playing by western chess rules, even if the pieces looked familiar. The pawns were flat, and set up one row farther up, and they seemed to change their allowed movement at some point.

It was fun watching but I didn't make much headway in observing the rules before the boat arrived.

When I got home I forgot about it. Recently, though, I decided I'd take a look on the web and see what I could find.

"What" was a lot:

I still haven't played it, but it looks interesting.

(no subject)

While searching for some sort of online agent which does for shoe styles what various sites do for music (i.e., given the music I'm listening to now, suggest some other music I might like, except for shoe styles), I found this:

Shoe Lacing Methods.

One of the great things about the web is the degree to which its utility is enhanced by all of us posting about our particular obsessions.

(Still haven't found a shoe style suggestor site, though. Don't know if one actually exists.)