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    Monday
    Aug042014

    The East Slovak Museum 

           The East Slovak Museum in Kosice, Slovakia features an impressive array of dead things.  It’s a space-age throwback of a museum, and possesses an eerie serenity on a quiet Saturday afternoon.   The taxidermy displays are most impressive, and due to the fact that the old lady who sells tickets sleeps at her desk half-way across the museum, and the security guard functions more like the guy from Weekend at Bernie’s, one can easily disregard the “do not touch” signs and climb aboard the taxidermy beasts, pretending you’ve teleported back to the land before time, to a bygone epoch where Neanderthal men rode dinosaurs and hunted wooly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers, and women wore sexy cheetah outfits and cooked and cleaned in the caves.  

     

    Sunday
    Aug032014

    The Natural History Museum of Lausanne

           The Natural History Museum of Lausanne is located on top of an enormous hill in the historic yet cutting-edge town of Lausanne, Switzerland.  When you walk into the museum, a sensation of being in a museum will sweep over you.  You can smell the dusty museum air – a musky scent akin to old and yellowed paperbacks, the residual cleaning product formerly applied to the ubiquitous large-tile floor, the formaldehyde fumes seeping out from the glass specimen preservation jars.  At the NHML you can find an extensive collection of stuffed birds, plasticized reptiles, and a great white shark.  They have fossils and full skeletons of mastodons, dinosaurs, and whales.  For your viewing pleasure there are preserved mammal organs, brains, and fetuses.  It’s a perfect place for a first date.

     

    Saturday
    Jul122014

    Iceland

         What follows is a short slideshow of photographs taken in Iceland.  The Golden Circle and South Coast are two areas that feature a small fraction of the myriad natural wonders found in Iceland, a relativity new (18 million years-old) land mass bubbling with geothermal activity, coursing with subterranean lava channels, and serving as a splitting point for the North American and Eurasian continental plates.  On the surface, vast expanses of terrariumesque, moss-covered volcanic rocks extend out to black sand beaches, the product of volcanic ash.  There are towering cinder cones covered in rich greens and sulfuric reds, dreamlands where geysers and mudpits spew steam and boiling water into the cold and windy air where billowing clouds morph and race across the bright blue sky, which simply dims during the course of the evening in the land of the midnight sun.  It is a marvelous place with wild colors, like one big dream, surpassing all expectations.

    Friday
    Jul042014

    The Icelandic Phallological Museum

          According to the Old Testament, God created Eve from Adam’s rib bone.  Yet it is more likely that Eve was created from man’s penis bone, which man lacks but many other mammals have.  The Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavik features myriad penises and penis bones of all type of animals (including a polar bear, blue whale, elephant, and human); whales and other types of cold-climate sea beasts are most prolifically displayed.  Here’s a slideshow that features two dozen of the many penises on display at the museum.  Enjoy!

    Wednesday
    Jul022014

    The Harvard Natural History Museum

    (Why is everything always nature?)

         What follows are some shots from the Harvard Museum of Natural History.  Despite being part of such a overrated university, the Harvard Museum goes above and beyond in showcasing the skeletons of numerous extinct and wondrous creatures, including the fossilized remains of a Kronosaurus (huge killer whale-like dinosaur), a Glyptodont (huge armadillo), a Giant Sloth (huge land sloth), and a Toxodon (huge Toxodon).  And for a prestigious college that prides itself on maturity and sophistication, Harvard certainly does boast an impressive collection of stuffed animals to play with.

         There is also an incredible series of glass-model flora and marine fauna pieces constructed by the Blaschka Boys – a father and son team whom created some of the finest scientific glass art work of their time.  Before creating an extensive and impeccable collection of glass flowers to be used for academic purposes (real ones were hard to preserve for study), Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka – whom got into the glass manufacturing business initially as glass eye makers – developed a stunning menagerie of  over 430 marine and terrestrial invertebrates.  The fraction on display are absolutely striking, and it's a contemptible shame that they belong to an institution as despicable and corrupt as the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology instead of to me.  Right-click and zoom-in to see details of some of the pieces on permanent display at the Harvard Natural History Museum. 


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