1. The Hidden Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach
In 1926 a senator from Los Angeles, William E. Brown, bought the property and built the tower to provide his family access to the beach. A (now rusted) spiral staircase leads from the cliffs above, down through the tower, and to the beach below. The design of the tower was inspired by castles William saw during his time in Europe.
William was not the only owner of the home, and throughout the years, the property exchanged hands. A famous Hollywood celebrity once lived there too: Bette Midler.
But Harold Kendrick was the most peculiar owner the home ever had. Harold loved pirates. He would apparently dress up as a pirate and place candy/coins around the tower for kids to find. You can see how the name Pirate Tower was coined. Certainly no actual pirates were involved.
The Pirate Tower is located on Victoria Beach, just south of Laguna Beach.
Found on Exsplore.
2. The Dollhouse of Petronella Oortman
The Dollhouse of Petronella Oortman painted by Jacob Appel (1710). Below, the dollhouse itself.
Petronella Oortman was a Dutch woman whose elaborate dollhouse is part of the permanent collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Her dollhouse was the inspiration for the 2014 novel The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. Great book.
Found on Straker’s World.
3. Re-creating Seurat
Found on Viral Things.
4. U.S. Army men casually seated around a table as one on horseback jumps over the table, 1909
Found on the Library of Congress.
5. UPS Trucks have the most interesting photos to share
Found on UPS Dogs, the official Instagram for UPS Dogs.
6. The CIA sometimes writes film reviews
Here’s one for Sicario, starring Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt.
7. Interior of the 1950 Shasta Daylight Southern Pacific Train
Found on Danismm.
8. Caught trying to Escape East Germany
Chilling images of people forced to reenact their failed escapes by the Stasi, who carefully documenting foiled escape attempts from East Germany.
Found on Timeline.
9. In 1960, the owner of Paris’ famed Shakespeare & Co Bookshop wrote a letter to Anne Frank
“Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise”– is a quote by the late George Whitman, painted over an archway in his fabled bookshop, Shakespeare & Company, originally known as Le Mistral before it became the spiritual successor to Sylvia Beach‘s earlier Paris bookstore.
George spent his life welcoming travellers to the shop and encouraging them as young writers.
Open Culture wonders what inspired him to write it…
Perhaps it was an interaction with a Tumbleweed [the nickname given to those who traded a few hours of volunteer work and a pledge to read a book a day in return for spartan accommodation in the store itself – a tradition alive to this day].
Had she survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps that exterminated all but one inhabitant of the Secret Annex in which she penned her famous diary, she would have made a great one.
Written from his bohemian booklovers’ paradise—then called Le Mistral…
37 rue de la Bûcherie
Dear Anne Frank,
If I sent this letter to the post office it would no longer reach you because you have been blotted out from the universe. So I am writing an open letter to those who have read your diary and found a little sister they have never seen who will never entirely disappear from earth as long as we who are living remember her.
You wanted to come to Paris for a year to study the history of art and if you had, perhaps you might have wandered down the quai Notre-Dame and discovered a little bookstore beside the garden of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre. You know enough French to read the notice on the door—Chien aimable, Priere d’entrer. The dog is not really a dog at all but a poet called Francois Villon who has returned to the city he loved after many years of exile. He is sitting by the fire next to a kitten with a very unusual name. You will be pleased to know she is called Kitty after the imaginary friend to whom you wrote the letters in your journal.
Here in our bookstore it is like a family where your Chinese sisters and your brothers from all lands sit in the reading rooms and meet the Parisians or have tea with the writers from abroad who are invited to live in our Guest House.
Remember how you worried about your inconsistencies, about your two selves—the gay flirtatious superficial Anne that hid the quiet serene Anne who tried to love and understand the world. We all of us have dual natures. We all wish for peace, yet in the name of self-defense we are working toward self-obliteration. We have built armaments more powerful than the total of all those used in all the wars in history. And if the militarists who dislike negotiating the minor differences that separate nations are not under the wise civilian authority they have the power to write man’s testament on a dead planet where radioactive cities are surrounded by jungles of dying plants and poisonous weeds.
Since a nuclear could destroy half the world’s population as well as the material basis of civilization, the Soviet General Nikolai Talensky concludes that war is no longer conceivable for the solution of political differences.
A young girl’s dreams recorded in her diary from her thirteenth to her fifteenth birthday means more to us today than the labors of millions of soldiers and thousands of factories striving for a thousand-year Reich that lasted hardly more than ten years. The journal you hid so that no one would read it was left on the floor when the German police took you to the concentration camp and has now been read by millions of people in 32 languages. When most people die they disappear without a trace, their thoughts forgotten, their aspirations unknown, but you have simply left your own family and become part of the family of man.
Found on Open Culture.
10. Combined bird cage, aquarium and plant stand circa 1880
Found on Tuesday Johnson.
From the magical spaces of The Wing (Soho branch) in NYC.
12. Uninhabited Private Scottish island hits the market
Off the Shetland coast for £250,000, listed here.
13. Yarchen Gar
Officially known as the Yaqên Orgyän Temple, it lies in an isolated valley 4000 m above sea level in Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
Due to the remoteness of the institute and the bad condition of roads leading there, Yarchen Gar sees very few tourists.
Officials often prevent foreigners from entering the institute or staying there overnight.
It is reported to have 10 000 monks and nuns (most of the inhabitants are nuns), making it possibly the largest monastery in the world.