Posted on November 26th, 2010
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...
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...
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
Or at least it will be until the last episode of Hannah Montana airs early next year.