The two reports this morning of sudden waves of deaths in Russia in December from cold and/or respiratory complaints and Klebsiella pneumonia both sound more like residual incidences of pneumonic plague. As far as I’m aware (visibility down to three metres this morning), kids don’t usually get Klebsiella (which resembles the plague), and both cases remind me more of reports in Sam Cohn’s The Black Death Transformed: Disease and Culture in Early Renaissance Europe () of the Manchurian plagues of 1911 and 1922, when high tarabagan (row 10) skin prices caused an influx of large numbers of inexperience trappers, who lived in freezing, dirty, unventilated huts and perished with similar symptoms as a consequence. Interestingly, Russia is one of the states listed by Jane’s Defence as having supplies of the bacterium, and Sverdlovsk was hit back in 1979 by an anthrax (sorry, tainted meat) epidemic. Got a nasty cough myself, I have.
- Is the Cibber piper in the V&A a notorious plague-pit drunkard?
Featuring O du lieber Augustin, the Thomases Dekker and Middleton, Daniel Defoe and various disreputable beggars and foreigners.
- The green of the louse/Lo verde del piojo
An etymological hop from kite-flying with Juan Marsé back to Concha Piquer’s greatest hit.
- Murder of Theo van Gogh by Muslim extremist
De Telegraaf draws a link between the murders of Pim Fortuyn and, this morning in Amsterdam, of Dutch polemicist and director, Theo van Gogh: their deaths are separated by 911 days, as were New York and Madrid. He was shot and stabbed to death by a man with double Moroccan and Dutch nationality, an associate of Samir A, who was arrested in June for planning a terrorist attack. There’s little doubt that van Gogh’s crimes were to have drawn attention to Muslim extremism in Holland and the short he recently made with Hirsi Ali, of whom more here.
- April 15th 1904: death and liquid meat in Barcelona
The news today is dominated by the anarchist attempt on prime minister Antonio Maura near the Mercé on the 12th, the visit of Spanish king Alfonso to Catalonia (“The Velocipedists Club raised an obelisk formed of flowers”), and the Russo-Japanese war. However, a couple of interstitial text ads caught my eye in the edition of …