This Week’s Dirt – 8/20 – 8/24

Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 in Dirt | No Comments

Cultural Heritage Link of the Week

If you haven’t had a chance to read Paul Mullins’ most recent blog post, you are missing out on a wonderful discussion about what he calls “Ruin Porn”, and its political and archaeological implications.  Mullins examines the recent trend, which has emerged during the recent economic decline, which has caused many cities to go into decay. Detroit figures prominently in the piece, as is probably little surprise to anyone: the Central Station has been the poster child for this genre of photography. At any rate, this is a great piece about a recent phenomenon, and I hope you take the time to read it.

The Politics and Archaeology of Ruin Porn – paulmullins.wordpress.com

Let’s Read


This Week’s Research Read: 

I just received Julia King’s new book, Archaeology, Narrative, and the Politics of the Past, and spent most of yesterday morning reading it. Dr. King  teaches at St. Mary’s College, and her archaeological research spans many centuries of Southern Maryland’s past. In the book, she discusses her work in St. Mary’s County at Susquehanna and Point Lookout, as well as at Historic St. Mary’s City (where my research is being conducted). She is concerned with historical narratives and how they are constructed and presented, both in the past and the present, at these various sites. It is a unique approach to examining the past, and, I think, an important one. Also, gave me some added context for my dissertation…so that always helps, too!

This Week’s For Fun Read:


Finally, Ashleigh and I finished listening to Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, part one in a monstrous trilogy about the early 20th century, specifically WWI. The most incredible part about listening to this book was less the story (which was good), but more the person who did the reading. The characters are from every country on the planet, and the narrator nailed every accent. Pretty incredible. If you have the time, I’d recommend checking out the audio version. Also, be careful if you’re listening to this book and simultaneously watching Season 2 of Downton Abbey. Lots of overlap, and you may get your characters confused.

On the Web:

Amazing photographs taken by Bryon Denton for the New York Times. I’m always struck by this reporting…because it means that someone is there, to take these photos and write the article. So brave and important. They accompany this article: Life With Syria’s Rebels in a Cold and Cunning War – nytimes.com

Colleague Shawn Graham from Carleton whipped up a quick Prezi about his philosophy of teaching, which is about building things (and learning to fail). I’ve always been incredibly impressed with Shawn’s approach, and honesty, about his approach to teaching.  We build things: a philosophy of teaching on Prezi

I don’t use Quora much, but apparently the founder of Wikipedia enjoys it, and often answers obscure questions quite seriously. In any case, here he tackles the question of “Are there more types of boats or types of pasta”, and actually ends up ruminating quite eloquently about some of the difficulties of classifications and typologies: Are there more types of boats or types of pasta? – quora.com

Apparently, Agave Nectar is a big scam. This is bad news for those of you who have ever had one of my Margaritas, in which Agave Nectar plays an important role. So…going to have to do some experimenting to find a new sweetener for Margs. Darn. Why I NEVER Use Agave – RealFoodForager.com

In case you missed this bizarre story, a woman in Spain got fed up with a fresco of Jesus in a church that was deteriorating, and decided to take matters into her own hands…the results are…less than appealing. Colleen Morgan asks, “why is this funny?” (because it is, for some reason). Spanish Fresco “Restoration”: Why is it Funny? – Middle Savagery

Let’s Listen

James Taylor is one of my all-time favorite songwriters and singers: one of my greatest musical experiences was listening to a free concert he gave in Piazza del Popolo in Rome. It was amazing. So, when an album by Ben Taylor, the son of James and Carly Simon, popped up on Spotify, you better believe I was going to listen. I’m glad I did. The title track, “Listening”, is a a great song.

Let’s Look

Some of my images from the week (and previous weeks):

Today just seemed to call for breakfast out. taking it in skipping Why hello, tractor tire.

Some things to look at by other people (folks, I want to highlight more archaeology photos, so let’s see some good ones!):

fail better

Let’s (have a) Drink

It’s Friday, folks. Here’s what I’ll be mixing this weekend (yes, it’s cucumber. Yes, it’s trendy. Yes, it will be delicious).

4 cucumber slices
3 mint sprigs
1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. fresh lime or lemon juice
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, muddler, strainer
Glass: wine
Garnish: cucumber slice and mint sprig

Muddle cucumber and mint in the bottom of a shaker. Add gin, syrup and lime juice. Shake with ice, strain into chilled wine glass and garnish.

Source: imbibemagazine.com