The Royal Post
past announcements update 8.6.23
     I had some energy left after the previous update, so I uploaded one of my old assignments about Fairy Changelings. The truth is I don't like this article very much, as I find it to alternate between depressing passages to ones that are boring, but two people I value their opinion liked it very much, so I decided I won't be the judge of my own work. For example, nobody liked my article about Edward Gorey, though I found it to be a nice homage to this artist.
     I've also rewritten the main page and added some links to my FaceBook, DuoLingo and OKCupid profiles, including one to Buy Me a Coffee, which also serves to display some of the figurative digital clocks I make. update 17.5.23
     For many years, my mother had in her possession nine unusual small drawings, which I always found enchanting. When learning their author, Tsvi Golan, has published two collections of short stories in his early years in Heidelberg, I hired Erez Wolk to translate them from the German. My intention was to publish The Slippers (1912) and The Journey to the Lungs (1913) alongside the drawings in a small volume, but somehow never got to it. A few years passed with no change but the thinning of my hair, so I eventually decided to upload them to my website, with a short afterword about Golan and the circumstances under which my mother was left with the papers, and some of the etches and drawings, of this extremely talented man. update 3.9.22
     I do still have a lot of dusty unpublished articles written for the site, but my interests wandered elsewhere and for the last past years I've written nothing but love letters. However, I do take a little time to maintain the site technically and made two minor additions lately:
     My mother is exhibiting some of her paintings in Tel Aviv Cinematheque this month, and I have made a modest page with a selection of my favorites. The last three were obviously made for me by special order.
     I also uploaded several dozens PowerPoint Shows that I made between my tedious chores in the public library. Those celebrate author's lives and common holidays and might be useful for middle-grade teachers.
     Finally, During the lockdown I published two small books for my friends, which can be glimpsed on in my Hebrew or English CV. update 26.2.16
     Working as a librarian, my mind has so much deteriorated I doubt I shall ever write again. However, my last article of Harry Whittier Frees was put online by the Levin Kipnis Center, and though some of it is outdated (the subject of butterflies in Medieval art, for example, was greatly expanded since) I encourage you to read it nevertheless. I also took the short time needed to update my links to used books stores, as reading a book is a much inferior pleasure to owning it. update 18.6.11
     It's been many years now since I launched my website and indeed my concerns are very different now, so no wonder it fell into neglect and it's decaying corpse was left to prey on by the worms and spiders of the web.
     Most of my free time nowadays is spent pondering the strange beauty of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, with the aid of Mary Dibbern's performance guide, a pursuit I heartily recommend to anyone who choose a life of idle pleasures.
     However, in rare occasions I did prompt myself into some sort of action and so have a things or two to write which no doubt will prove extremely useful.
     First, I had an academic article published, a thing I thought one might want to do once or twice in his life. It's bibliographic details are:
בר, ראם: "חיות בלבוש אדם ומסורות חזותיות בשירי אמא אווזה של הארי ויטייר פריס", עיונים בספרות ילדים 20 (תשע"א, 2011) עמ' 55-16.
abstract: Harry Whittier Frees was the pioneer and most influential figure in the translation of the ancient theme of anthropomorphic animals to the language of photography. The article briefly reviews the history of this theme, how it became a feature of children's literature and its photographic versions. It then focuses on Frees' photographs for the Mother Goose nursery rhymes and presents their design techniques, from straightforward mimicry of previous illustrations, through adherence to traditional iconography, to a parody on popular American visual motives that have nothing to do with Mother Goose.
     I also amused myself with writing little scripts I found useful at the time, two of which might be worth mentioning before they become obsolete: One is a Firefox extension named Search Image Everywhere, that do reverse image search (namely search similar images to a given one) using miscellaneous web services. Another is a Greasemonkey script called Torrentz Companion. Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that let you run Javascript stuff on the pages, and my script tries to help users of the BitTorrent file sharing system to get many sources for a single torrent quickly when using the multi-search engine.
     Now, such technical stuff is no proper conversation for civilized men, so we shall leave the subject for now and return to converse with our friends on obscure books, the beauty of women and the qualities of rare wines. update 14.10.09
     For a long time now I wanted to make an homage to Tove Jansson, the great artist and creator of the Moomins. I am therefore delighted to present a short report on her newly published Moomin comics albums. Most English sources about her are rather rare now and expensive to get, so those few words would have to suffice for the time being. update 18.6.09
     Verbose speeches are redundant when submitting an article of the genius that was Edward Gorey. update 9.6.09
     It must be a surprise for you to receive this update after an intermission of almost seven years - if indeed you received it, for your email probably changed, or your new wife forbid you of using the computer, or you might have died - but if not, you shall be informed of a new article available for your pleasure, about the singular diversion of bibliokleptomania or book thievery.
     Another new addition is a guide of the sources for purchasing used books in Israel and abroad, summing my own experience in this noblest of hobbies. My motive in publishing it and the article is not quite altruistic, for I have set about establishing my own used books store and hope that relevant content would give me better rank in Google. Yet, in the past few years I have written quite a few unpublished articles and have some vague intention of adding them to the site eventually. update 6.10.02
     You shall be much relieved to find the present article to be of a most puritan nature, debating the enigmatic question of the naming of the ostrich in the Bible. Coming from this source I was able to suggest a likely solution to certain Medieval onomastic tangle which puzzled more learned men then me; but alas, had not the leisure to study it further.
     This page is finally done in Logical Hebrew, as the old Visual standard doesn't support punctuations well. I had to prevent many strange line-breakings and messed with the search script which must be more thoroughly revised sometime; I hope all will work fine for you. Then you are likely to get a short rest, as having been taken yet again to the army I won't be able to finance regular studies this year. I am quite unpleased, having lost one academic profession already due to the regular service and finding the young idiots I serve with very hard to bear.
     Though it was almost six years then before I could raise the money to resume academic studies, I do not expect it to be the case now; and as I wouldn't like you to lose heart, let me end by quoting The Speculators, a mid nineteen-century verse by William Makepeace Thackeray.

     The night was stormy and dark,
     The town was shut up in sleep:
     Only those were abroad who were out on a lark,
     Or those who'd no beds to keep.

     I pass'd through the lonely street,
     The wind did sing and blow;
     I could hear the policeman's feet
     Clapping to and fro.

     There stood a potato-man
     In the midst of all the wet;
     He stood with his 'tato-can
     In the lonely Hay-market.

     Two gents of dismal mien,
     And dank and greasy rags,
     Came out of a shop for gin,
     Swaggering over the flags:

     Swaggering over the stones,
     These shabby bucks did walk;
     And I went and followed those seedy ones,
     And listened to their talk.

     Was I sober or awake?
     Could I believe my ears?
     Those dismal beggars spake
     Of nothing but railroad shares.

     I wondered more and more:
     Says one - "Good friend of mine,
     How many shares have you wrote for,
     In the Diddlesex Junction line?"

     "I wrote for twenty," says Jim,
     "But they wouldn't give me one;"
     His comrade straight rebuked him
     For the folly he had done:

     "O Jim, you are unawares
     Of the ways of this bad town;
     I always write for five hundred shares,
     And THEN they put me down."

     "And yet you got no shares,"
     Says Jim, "for all your boast;"
     "I WOULD have wrote," says Jack, "but where
     Was the penny to pay the post?"

     "I lost, for I couldn't pay
     That first instalment up;
     But here's 'taters smoking hot - I say,
     Let's stop, my boy, and sup."

     And at this simple feast
     The while they did regale,
     I drew each ragged capitalist
     Down on my left thumbnail.

     Their talk did me perplex,
     All night I tumbled and tost,
     And thought of railroad specs,
     And how money was won and lost.

     "Bless railroads everywhere,"
     I said, "and the world's advance;
     Bless every railroad share
     In Italy, Ireland, France;
     For never a beggar need now despair,
     And every rogue has a chance." update 4.9.02
     Checking the feasibility of making an Adventure Game for my MA thesis, I created a basic game scene suitably entitled A Fool's Errand. Thanks is well due to prof. Goodich for giving academic recognition to this preliminary study.
     The AGAST engine was chosen due to its graphic capabilities and relative flexibility, as well as for its active users community. Despite being a rather untested software with some major bugs, the responsive developers support make it show a great promise for the future in sight. update 9.5.02
     Honorable gentlemen and beloved ladies, let me declare with all humility my new article must be considered a true gem, or at least some rare exotic beast. Its subject is a theatrical episode of the Westcar Papyrus dated to the second intermediary period, about 1600BCE. You might want to note it to be some half thousand years older then the earliest layer of the Bible. The history of the article itself might also be worth recounting, as I feel somehow that wiser man then I might find some moral in it:
     I offered the idea at the time to the learned Egyptologist Dr. Shupak, after being introduced by her to a charming little volume of Ancient Egyptian literature. Being a man of unusually good nature I was not insulted in the least by her doubt I shall manage to trace the relevant material, and was able to present rough headlines and bibliography before the end of the year. Unfortunately, my decadent habit of getting a night's sleep once in a while prevented me from writing the article in due time, and the course remained uncompleted.
     The next semester, I was able to take some other somewhat-related course and offered my subject to the charismatic young doctor in charge, who seemed most enthusiastic. But examining my offer the following week, he said he doesn't feel his background in the field to be satisfactory for judging such an article and suggested I'll keep it for Dr. Shupak. While I fully understand this reason let me confess my suspicion that his wife, a learned member of the academy herself, forbade him of having anything to do with a manuscript including no less then twenty slave-girls clad only with nets. We finally agreed on the queen of rare beauty Nefertiti as an assignment; but when the semester was over, I felt taking to write of yet another woman will be too much for any student - unless he is James Bond - so this course's requirements were not fulfilled as well.
     Ironically, Shupak's present course in Egyptology was of women in Ancient Egypt, and at long last I was able to complete the article presented now to you, having no doubt you will sympathize with the good-humored King Snefru no less then I do.
     Changing the subject, much work was done for the site behind the scenes looking for a new web host. Indeed I have moved three different systems before finding suitable Linux hosting with minimum so-called extra features, where I installed a copy of Webalizer statistics and recalling my half-forgotten Perl programming, made the necessary changes to my scripts. Since Google launched their image search it has taken fancy to my images, which started being linked from over-populated forums draining my hard-earned bandwidth. At long last I have the Apache Rewrite module installed, replacing any requested image from outside with the logo of my site.
     Finally, I took to make some long due changes in my main page, replacing all articles' icons but those of my favorites with simple text links. The applications were grouped together with their own little beasts and the newspaper clips page removed; but most important, I added the logo so people will no longer have to guess my site's name. It actually starts with a short animation I am extremely proud of, so pay attention when the page loads! update 4.3.02
     At long last there is an update on my site, and I have no doubt you are excited as I am. It deals with the most excellent brand of early medieval riddles kept in the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book. You must know the English like to delude themselves to have some vague heritage in the Anglo-Saxons, and are taking their young to see their remains in the burial grounds. Back on class, the children draw the corpses they saw.
     At this point I recall to have ran across two young girls in the university's library a few months ago, probably working on some graduation assignment for their last year in school. One a brunette and the other a beautiful blond who, probably recognizing me from the site, gave me a most charming smile - which I courteously returned to both. Naturally, one should consider the stability of going through all this site-building trouble for the sake of a smile, and indeed I gave the matter a long thought. Finally I found it appropriate to allow a single advertisement on the main page. Most strangely, my mailbox wasn't filled with eager sponsors, so this banner is now out.
     Two other matters worth noting: First, Adam surprised me with some minor corrections to the Apatic Bird, and added a nice installer. Second is of course the weekly broadcast of Columbo in channel 10, though it remains a riddle why of 68 episodes filmed we get the same twenty aired on METV over and over again. update 19.10.01
     As the academic year is about to start, I shall have very little time for the site. But before shutting off the lights I thought a special project must be made, to celebrate the season's end.
     It is an unusual pleasure for me to make available online three of my sister's professional recordings, accompanied by Nick Pale's harpsichord. I couldn't afford hosting them myself of course, but uploaded them to and linked their page directly. A more formal photo and a biography will be added eventually, when reaching me in the old fashioned mail. Let me take the liberty to recommend my own favorite, Vivaldi's concerto in C minor.
     I also used this occasion as an excuse to replace Oscar Wilde's photo on my main page with Vera Ellen's. Even those who doubt my reasons can not deny it made my site much more alluring. update 3.10.01
     Before returning the vast Mongol empire I felt obliged, to put to a happy end at least one of the works piled on my desk. Hence, as I trust Marco Polo is well taken care of in the court of Kublai Khan, I shall leave him there for the moment and turn to another subject.
     We shall presently discuss one of the more curious exploits of Alexander the Great, being his descent to the ocean floor in a glass barrel. The article is not very long but use a variety of sources; it is therefore a good investment for your time. Indeed before diving, one must traverse a rather dry prolog; but if you save your breath, I feel a man like you could manage it. update 23.9.01
     The last dramatic announcement witnessed mass desertion of my sinking mailing list. A speech therefore is called for, and so I speak here thus: that he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart! his passport shall be made and crowns for convoy put into his purse: we would not die in that man's company that fears his fellowship to die with us!
     I hope you found that encouraging. Now, I have put up a small article for the Vanity Fair column - first in about two years! A thing of great importance had to happen for me to put aside those grave eternally unfinished academic essays in sake of matters of the hour, and such occasion indeed occurred: King's Quest, first of Sierra's classics, was reproduced as Freeware by fans, with full color, music and speech. Furthermore, free software for advanced Graphic Adventures creation is introduced, and editors to Sierra's classics - which seems almost obscene.
     Let me use this opportunity to list some minor changes, for the record alone. One might have noticed a so-called "From the Ancient World to the Middle Ages" thing. I thought it of some importance at the time to point out several aspects of the period neglected in the relevant course, but had much trouble finding appropriate place to stick it - except in Toad Hall. A chapter on Seneca was added from Lissner's book some time ago, but as I really despise this man I avoided mentioning it as long as I could. I fixed a bug in my Visual Hebrew flipping program which could trap the computer in an endless routine. Luckily, nobody ever used it, so the problem didn't occur. The OTR radio flash now while it plays, due to the vacuum tubes inside. I configured my homemade mailing list program to display all messages on the subscription page alone, which look much more respectable. Finally, several icons on the main page were re-designed, some more then once. update 19.8.01
     Emperors and kings, dukes and marquises, counts, knights, and townsfolk, and all people who wish to know the various races of men and the peculiarities of the various regions of the world, go to this webpage and have it read to you. Here you will find all the great wonders and curiosities of Greater Armenia and Persia, of the Tartars and of India, and of many other territories. It will relate them to you plainly in due order, as they were related by Messer Marco Polo, a wise and noble citizen of Venice, who has seen them with his own eyes.
     For I would have you know that from the time when our Lord God formed Adam our first parent with His hands down to this day there has been no man, Christian or Pagan, Tartar or Indian, or of any race whatsoever, who has known or explored so many of the various parts of the world and of its great wonders as this same Messer Marco Polo. For this reason he made up his mind that it would be a great pity if he did not have a written record made of all the things he had seen and had heard by true report, so that others who have not seen and do not know them may learn them from his book. update 1.3.01
     I am delighted to announce another article, rather similar to the previous in style, dealing with the life and times of the renown author, Edgar Wallace.
     Incidently I would like to mention, The Apatic Bird Game gathered over 25,000 downloads since February 10th, and was marked "popular" in softseek. We received fan letters from Russia and Vietnam. One Spanish site was almost poetic in his description: "A sad, gray landscape of desolation; flocks of sinister birds circle in the dark and stormy sky... in Apatic Bird you will have the opportunity to eliminate them!"
     I take it to be a sad sign of our times, that game of this nature win such success. Of course, one might suggest the creators of the game are responsible for this phenomena - you might as well think so, but I can not possibly comment. update 12.2.01
     Starting my MA studies, I found myself in the strange position that my articles actually should have some point. Nevertheless, I trust they won't be less entertaining (for me that is, as I don't really give a damn about my site's visitors).
     The first of those deals with the liquor prohibition era in the States, as reflected in Damon Runyon's writings. It was done for an introductory course about US from the Civil War to World War II, which actually required a test rather than an assignment. But, to be honest, I hardly find tests to be acceptable in an academic institution, and though my opinion is not a thing to deprive kings of their sleep - it was considered in that occasion. update 9.12.00
     Subscribers of this mailing list probably expected articles of intellectual value, good taste entertainment for the thinking man, things to make oneself a better person. A bitter revelation is expected to those, as the new addition to my site is a rather primitive game of low educational value, in which you should destroy a great number of defenseless birds. Therefore I hereby declare those birds to be evil. They steal babies and their extermination is a positive thing.
     The graphics was made by myself and the programming by Adam Tal, who was rather impatient to my totally reasonable demands.
     I also used this opportunity to put online a collection from my older games, made in 1987 on the green monitor of the PC-XT. Their graphics was drawn using my homemade drawing program, which still might be considered a fair rival to Photoshop, if only you ignore the minor limitation of three colors and get used to drawing with the keyboard alone. update 18.10.00
     Wasting another month in the army I can offer you naught, but a series of portraits hastily done. Other minor addition are three chapters of the red headed Nero, now online. The family resemblance of Nero's mother Agrippina to emperor Claudius, her husband, quite stands out, for of course she was his cousin. The famous beauty of Sabina Poppaea is less evident, though I did my best to present her in the most flattering way. A fourth chapter describes Petronius' Satyricon, of which Fellini based his tiresome movie.
     In the main page I polished some of the icons, putting a T-shirt on the mermaid - so the site now fit for all ages. My few travels were moved under a separate subtitle, taken from Bilbo's record of his journey to the lonely mountain.
     Last but not least, thanks to Anat for her valuable correction to the last article. update 4.9.00
     New article added today about the noble game of chess, the game which, as Voltaire said, reflects most honour on human wit.
     As fit for the Royal game, I made it a title of crowned letters, scanned from a bible scroll. I also included a JAVA chess game with especially designed pieces, so you can practice playing against Death, the most formidable of kings - which might be useful when the day comes. update 7.8.00
     Not really an update yet, but a few things need to be said:
     First, much to my frustration I couldn't find a satisfactory solution for Hebrew e-mail, so updates will be in English for the time being.
     Second, the text link on the top of each message will enable you to instantly unsubscribe from the mailing list, so if you had enough already - this is the way out!
     Third, former visitors might have noticed I removed the Sandbaggers petition from the site. I did it due to misuse by one user who left offending messages there. It is worth mentioning that in almost a year the petition was online, there where no other such incidents.
     The petition was signed merely by 78 people, but it was mentioned in both Haaretz and Maariv and I do believe it made some difference - as there are quite a few new British shows on TV now (though most are hardly worth watching).
     In a more cheerful mood, last month I had 76 different visitors per day, watching about three pages each. 64 Explorer users added the site to their Favorites.
     Two new chapters from Lissner's book where recently added to the site, dealing with the reign of Claudius Caesar. Though it is not evident from the picture I chose, he bore an extraordinary resembles to Derek Jacobi (which played his part on the BBC drama). I was delighted to supply also a picture of the notorious Messalina with a Marge Simpson hairdo.
     As I am well aware nobody actually reads this stuff, I won't send special updates for new chapters added.
     Finally, there are also some minor design changes in the main page, which you can see by scrolling down a bit, and the title "The Goblin Market" (named after the great poem by Christina Rossetti) was changed to "Vanity Fair" to celebrate the new TV adaptation aired on sundays in Channel 1, which seems rather entertaining.

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