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Posted on Friday, November 26th, 2010

Dave!One of my favorite blogs is Letters of Note, which is a fascinating collection of letters by famous persons which have been nicely transcribed. I happened across it a year ago while researching Alan Moore's work on Marvelman, and have been a huge fan ever since. Pulling a few recent entries from the webfeed, there's a letter from John Lennon saying Yoko Ono doesn't sweat, a speech for President Nixon if the moon landing should fail, John Byrne's introduction of Kitty Pryde to X-Men, and a letter from J.K. Rowling to a young fan about her plan for seven Harry Potter books. The site is addictive, and there's some amazing stuff to be found in their well-organized archives.

It's all good stuff, but this morning's entry "To My Widow," is particularly touching. It's a letter written by doomed South Pole explorer Robert Falcon Scott to his wife when he realized the expedition party wouldn't survive the journey back...

Robert Falcon Scott's Letter

I became interested in the so-called "Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration" after visiting Frammuseet (The Fram Museum) in Norway, which is home to a ship used for expeditions to both of earth's poles... including the Amundsen Antarctic expedition which beat Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole by 35 days...

Oslo's Fram Museum

Oslo's Fram Museum

It's a fascinating period in history, and one which has been continuously reinterpreted since it began. Historians have alternately praise Robert Falcon Scott as a hero, then dismissed him as incompetent. Despite all that, Scott's journal (which has been brilliantly reproduced in blog-form!) makes for interesting reading. Humans are at their best and worst while on the cusp of discovery and high adventure, and first-hand historical accounts are a treasure.

In other news... it's Black Friday today! A magical time for our consumerism culture to run amok!

I try hard not to buy something "just because it's on sale," so this day isn't particularly special to me. But I do need to get a new television to replace my ailing one, so I'll keep my eyes open and see if anything interesting turns up. Hopefully I'll find something before mine dies completely, because television is where humanity finds itself on the cusp of awesome discoveries and high adventure now-a-days.

Or at least it will be until the last episode of Hannah Montana airs early next year.

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  1. Sybil Law says:

    I am really, really going to love that site – thanks!
    Also, I think you should come here and watch the final Hannah Montana with Z and I -we can make it a party!

  2. A. Lewis says:

    We had to buy a new TV recently and are really happy with our new one. Even though we’re not TV buffs this one really looks nice. And those letters….I love that stuff….especially knowing that there was no email or “fast” anything. That letter would take weeks, or months, to reach its destination. I’ve watched more than one travel show about Antarctica — and remember when you and I were fantasizing about doing a cruise down there.

    • Dave2 says:

      I am STILL fantasizing about doing a cruise to Antarctica!

      Unfortunately, a full-on luxury cruise expedition with a company like Linblad costs a fortune.

      The only way I could afford it would be to take one of the less luxurious, more adventurous ice-breaker expeditions. I’ve met two people who have been on one of those trips and absolutely rave about them as a life-changing event. Unfortunately, since these are converted ships, the smallest cabin is four to six berths, and you have to find people willing to make the trip with you unless you feel like paying for the whole thing.

      So… if you ever feel like taking a trip waaaayyyy south… let me know!

  3. claire says:

    Letters of Note totally rocks. I’ve been a fan since I came upon it several months ago.

  4. George Worley says:

    The only thing I bought for Black Friday was dinner out with a friend for his birthday — actually his birthday is Monday but Friday seemed like a better day to go out to dinner.

  5. Shaun says:

    Thanks for the praise, in particular your kind words about the archives at Letters of Note, the creation of which caused me no end of problems and a tiny mental breakdown.

    Nice blog, and thanks again.

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