Kulning is an ancient herding call that originated in Sweden and Norway. It is used most often to call livestock (cows, goats, sheep, etc) down from pastures where they’d been grazing. The calls are typically used by women, though there are records of it having been used by men.


Photo of the Day

This was the kind of tea that was thrown into the Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party of 1773, not loose tea as one might imagine. This plank of highly compressed tea leaves would last someone roughly one year, and was prepared by shaving bits into a kettle.

This really helps put into perspective just how much tea was lost when 342 crates were dumped into the harbor that night.




The word cliché was originally the French name for a printing plate that was prepared for convenience to print a commonly used phrase. The plates clicked as they were being used, and cliché is the past participle of clicher, a variant of cliquer, “to click.”

Interestingly, another name for this plate is stereotype.


(From here)

Bad Doors


We use them every day. But most of the time we hardly pay attention to them – unless they are badly designed. But what makes a door a bad door? And conversely, what makes a door well designed? After all, it’s just a door! Turns out a lot of thought goes into how a door is made.


Jeremiah Clarke/Music of the Day

Jeremiah Clarke was one of the leading harpsichordists, organists, and composers of Renaissance Europe and a highly respected figure in society.

I’ve always had in my mind the idea that this was a man rather like Handel, who had a fairly happy life playing music and directing the choirs for royalty. This morning and completely by chance, I discovered that this was far from the case with Clarke, who fell in love with a lady of considerably higher social status (respected though musicians were), and found himself in the heart-breaking situation of unrequited love (ah, amor). Determined to end his life, he couldn’t decide whether to kill himself through hanging or drowning, so he flipped a coin. The coin fell into the mud on its side, so instead of deciding to continue writing love songs to his nameless lady, he shot himself. He died in 1707 at the age of 33.

Unlike unrequited love, suicide was not looked upon very favorably, and those who killed themselves were not usually buried in consecrated ground. Clarke, however, was a very rare exception due to the high regard his royal patrons had for him, and he was buried in a crypt at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Here is probably one of his most famous pieces. You might have heard it at a wedding…

Grapes and Victorians

A pair of grape scissors in their case. Victorian dining etiquette dictated that it was incredibly rude for diners to touch food with their fingers. Grapes were a popular dessert item and were only allowed to be touched once they had been properly cut with a pair of scissors. The trendsetting book ‘The Manners and Tone of Good Society’ stated that ‘When eating grapes, the half closed hand should be placed to the lips and the stones and skins adroitly allowed to fall into the fingers and quickly placed on the side of the plate, the back of the hand concealing the manoeuvre from view.’