Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesdays With Memento Mori

Monday, September 7, 2009

Axis Monday in the Former Soviet Bloc

The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania:





Click here for the full-sized image.

Lithuanians have been placing crosses on this hill since 1831 or so, for various reasons: as a symbol of peaceful resistance to the Soviet Union, in honor of loved ones killed during Lithuania's various battles for independence, as a testament to their Catholic faith. No one started documenting how many crosses were there until the 1900s. The first recorded statistic is 130 crosses, the latest number is over 55,000 and still growing. The USSR tried to dismantle it a few times, and there was talk of damming the Kulvė River so as to completely submerge it, but noting ever came of it and the hill persisted throughout. Pope John Paul II even paid a visit to the site, and in 2000 a Franciscan hermitage opened up nearby.

Who would have thought what just one cross on a hill would start?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Found it

Quoted in part before, but I found the video online. Well worth spending two minutes watching.

Axis Mundi, sic transit gloria mundi, memento mori, and all that jazz, it's all there:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

액어스서 문디

"Axis mundi" roughly translated to Konglish. (Koratin?)

The N Seoul Tower is probably the tallest building in the Seoul skyline, 777 (symoblism!) feet from base to top. Situated on the top of the mountain in Namsan Park, it stands over 1,500 feet above sea level and dominates the surrounding landscape:





Koreans seem to have an innate appreciation for the connection between the mundane and the mystical here. The Tower has, over the years, become a requisite date destination for any serious Korean couple. The base of the tower features a sit-down candlelit sort of restaurant, "couples' benches" that bend in the middle so that lovers can cuddle with ease, and a stand where you can buy locks.

Wait, what, locks? Just so. Check this out:



Those are all padlocks attached to the cyclone fencing around the base that keeps you from falling into the wilderness of Namsan Park below. As a token of their undying love, Korean couples come here and write their names on padlocks and attach them to the fence, as if attaching a symbol of themselves to the axis mundi will bestow upon their love some of the eternal nature of the heavens to which the axis points and connects.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Benefits of Living in a Society With a Free Press

"During the Cold War, the Semipalatinsk Polygon, located in the steppe of northeast Kazakhstan, was the site of a secret Soviet nuclear testing programme. Over the course of forty years, over four hundred nuclear weapons were test detonated in the atmosphere and underground. The locals were used as guinea pigs to test the effects of radiation on human populations." (No imagery in this link, I promise)

I take back everything bad I've ever said about capitalism. Though I am of the opinion that profanity is the mark of one who lacks sufficient vocabulary to express themselves, all I have to say is:

Holy Fucking Shit.

(There is a series of photographs linked on Metafilter that accompanies this, but I will not link to them seeing as how certain readers of the blog (myself included) lie awake at night in terror of this sort of thing.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No, THEREin Lies the Source of All Our Woes

Sorry for another Fox post, but I thought that that guest referring to Mr. Rogers as an "evil, evil man" was the stupidest thing that could have ever been said on Fox. It appears that this comment has not just been exceeded, but lapped.