The Sultan’s organ

Howard Goodall runs a good organ miscellania page here, of which the Sultan and Elizabeth I organ donation anecdote was one of the few useful pieces of information I learnt as a child. Peter English over at Aramco has more: The Grand Signor then commanded for silence. All being quiet, the clock struck twenty-two hours followed…

Semi-naked Spanish rugby players

All praise to Lenox over at Spanish Shilling, who got the shot without getting his head punched. “During the second half, perhaps inspired by a herd of goats being led past by a dusty looking old shepherd and a couple of dogs, the Cabras rose to even greater efforts and by the final whistle (and…

Pentecostal woes

Today in 1565 the True Cross was taken and dipped in the sea in order to assuage the great drought. Doesn’t look like that’s going to be needed this year after all. (Kalebeul’s History of Barcelona now does moveable feasts, although not quite in the way it would like. It is also unsure to do…


Samir over at View from Fez says that around 100 kids die annually from scorpion bites in Morocco. They’re quite common in Spain too. Here’s one in the gardens of Can Ferrero in Barcelona’s Zona Franca district that scared the hell out of me:

Open source Barcelona street map

Quite a lot of the Barcelona mapping at is already more detailed and reliable than some commercial products I’ve seen, although I briefly thought Plaça dels Angels had been mapped by skaters. Whatever happened to the UPC Barcelona mapping party?

Ethnic prejudices confirmed

L helped a cause. L joined FACEBOOK EN CATALÀ! 6,121 members – $0 raised People, get your wallets out.

Elizabeth I in the pay of Spain all along

Watching Helen Mirren last night. Quoth the people of Spain: Elizabeth -> Bess not Beth because it was given her by her Andalusian seseo-masters. And one was snoring too hard to disagree.

Killer cure

Stricken by Barcelona belly, I’ve been trying out this 19th century cholera cure. It’s better with rice, but I’m still surprised more people didn’t die. (Sublimated sulphur is used by modern-day lepers, says the chemist, so that wasn’t a problem.)

Brilliant gypsy grave in Montjuïc cemetery

Montjuïc cemetery publishes a little map which, interested in historical renown, guides you past the generally terribly tedious tombs of well-known Barcelona citizens (good, bad, ugly) and thus omits the quite extraordinary artistic achievements of some of its less well-documented residents. Here is one of the finest funeral monuments, built by people who have clearly…