J is for Jamie Uys

There is a popular notion that elephants and other creatures get themselves drunk by eating the fermented fruit of the marula tree, but it is a complete myth created by the South African filmmaker, Jamie Uys.

Uys was born in Boksburg, SA, in 1921 and began his career as a mathematics teacher in his hometown. Then he married Hettie, a fellow maths teacher, and they took to farming and opened trading posts on the Palala River. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

536

Sign of the times 1: Forget the year of the Black Death or the Spanish Flu, medieval historian Michael McCormick believes the year 536 AD was the worst to be alive when a mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness for eighteen months.

Keepie uppies: A group of women MPs were shown the red card after having a kick about on the floor of the House of Commons. Read more ›››

T is for Gerda Taro

The recently published biography of war correspondent Marie Colvin illustrates the dangers and bravery of this peculiar profession and the very first woman on the frontline was photojournalist Gerda Taro.

Taro was born Gerta Pohorylle in Stuttgart in 1910 to a middle-class Jewish family. She would later change her name to overcome the increasing intolerance of Jews in Europe. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Sign of the times 1: They were meant to brighten up the streets of Hull but the City Council has ordered that a multitude of handmade signs be taken down after just one complaint about the one on the left by a BMW driver.

Weighty matters: After 130 years, the definition of a kilogram is about to change because’Le Grand K’ has lost weight over the years. It will soon be defined in terms of electrical current. Read more ›››

S is for Herbert Sulzbach

Remembrance Day rightly focussed on the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War but there were those who served with distinction in both world wars and one such was Herbert Sulzbach.

Sulzbach was born in Frankfurt in 1894 to a wealthy Jewish banking family. His grandfather Rudolf founded the Bankhaus Gebruder Sulzbach in 1855, the forerunner of the modern-day Deutsche Bank. Read more ›››

Dulce et decorum est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares, we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind Read more ›››

The Last Laugh

‘O Jesus Christ! I’m hit,’ he said; and died. Whether he vainly cursed or prayed indeed, The Bullets chirped—In vain, vain, vain! Machine-guns chuckled—Tut-tut! Tut-tut! And the Big Gun guffawed.

Another sighed,—‘O Mother,—mother,—Dad!’ Then smiled at nothing, childlike, being dead. And the lofty Shrapnel-cloud Leisurely gestured,—Fool! And the splinters spat, and tittered. Read more ›››

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