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Capon Chapel(nominated by West Virginian) Capon Chapel is situated two miles south of Capon Bridge, West Virginia, USA. It's a small church, built from logs in the 1850s. The area was a stronghold of the Baptists in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and there was probably a Baptist church on the site. The first burial in the cemetery occurred in 1816, but the first certain mention of a church was in a land grant of 1852, referring to a house of worship "for the use of all orthodox Christians". Primarily used by the Baptists until the early part of last century, it became a stop on the local Methodist preachers' circuit, and as Baptist use declined, the Methodists became the chapel's users and carers. Today it is part of the United Methodist Church.
Witches' Sabbath (The Great He-Goat)(nominated by Ceoil) An excellent art article from our art expert Ceoil and company. Francisco Goya painted Witches' Sabbath in the early 1820s, in oils on the plaster wall of his home near Madrid. It's one of a set of fourteen murals that Goya left to his grandson, along with the house, when the artist left for exile. Goya gave neither title nor explanation for any of them. The Sabbath has been interpreted as Satan in the form of a goat, dominating a group of fearful witches. To the right sits an enigmatic young girl. Goya was an artist of peculiar imagination, who in his so-called Black Paintings mocked clerical institutions and ridiculed the stereotypes of witches and the grotesque side of their festivities and ceremonies. He portrayed ugly and malformed figures whose hideousness he accentuated with the use of loose brushwork. The grotesque faces provide a scary, frenzied atmosphere to his pictures. They have been seen as his artistic response to a "first-hand and acute awareness of panic, terror, fear and hysteria." Or something like that....
73rd Academy Awards(nominated by Birdienest81) Honoring films from the year 2000, the Best Picture Oscar went to Gladiator, Ridley Scott's Roman fighting epic which was probably the worst of the five nominees from that year. It took home five wins, including Best Actor for Russell Crowe, but notably no wins for its director or screenwriters, a first for a Best Picture since 1949. Best Director went to Steven Soderbergh; his films Traffic and Erin Brockovich both received nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, the latter nomination making him the third person to ever get double nominations for directing. Playing the title role in the David and Goliath story Erin Brockovich won Julia Roberts Best Actress. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon didn't win any of the major awards it was nominated for, but picked up four Oscars, including one for its stunning score by Tan Dun. Two of the best films of 2000, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Almost Famous, were snubbed, receiving only nominations for minor categories, and no wins.
List of works by Dorothy L. Sayers(nominated by SchroCat)Dorothy Leigh Sayers was a prolific English intellectual writer, essayist, poet, playwright and Christian humanist. She is best known nowadays for her "whodunits" featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, the gentleman detective, who has as his special hobby solving mysteries. He is a funny and sophisticated character – not the hardboiled trenchcoat-wearing detective, but the well educated and cerebral gentleman, with exquisite taste in wine, cars, clothing and books. Her first detective novel, Whose Body?, from 1923, features the naked body of a man wearing pince-nez, left in someone's bathtub as a joke. In the 1930s Sayers ceased writing crime stories and turned instead to religious plays and essays, and to translating literary works, from medieval French and Italian into English. These included Tristan by Thomas of Britain, and Dante's Divine Comedy. The latter is considered one of the greatest works of world literature; her translation of the Divine Comedy is Sayers's magnum opus.
Alexis of Russia(created by Unknown; nominated by Crisco 1492)Aleksej Michajlovitj Romanov became Tsar Alexis I of Russia at the age of sixteen in 1645. His reign was marked by several revolts, starting with the Salt Riot in 1648, followed by the Copper Riot, and a Cossack revolt in the south, and by wars with Poland and Sweden. The schism of the Russian Orthodox church started during his reign; church authorities demanded that worshipers make the sign of the cross using three fingers instead of two. The Old Believers, insisting on using two fingers, broke away from the church. The state considered Old Believers dangerous- some were arrested and even executed. The tsar's "crowning merit" was apparently in discovering great men and employing them, such as Fyodor Rtishchev, a publicity-shy educationalist and founder of charities. Rtishchev became a target for assassins after meddling with the church's liturgy- maybe he thought they should use one finger instead of two or three. Tsar Alexis' last years were peaceful. He had two wives and sixteen children, of whom three became tsars.
Funeral of Alfonso XII of Spain(created by Mr. Campuzano (illustration), Auguste Tilly (engraving); nominated by Adam Cuerden)Alfonso XII died aged 27 from dysentery in 1885. He became king of Spain in 1870, when his mother Queen Isabella II abdicated. They were in Paris at the time, living in exile after a revolution by the army. Alfonso returned to Spain in 1875, propelled there by a group of politicians and army officers who believed that a Bourbon restoration was the way forward out of the wars and unrest that were plaguing the country.
L'éclair(created by Paul Gavarni, restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden)L'éclair by the French Jewish composer Fromental Halévy is a comic opera in three acts. It was published in 1835, and utilises a small company of two tenors and two sopranos in a story of blind love- one of the men has been struck by lightning and is temporarily sightless.
Rigoletto redux(created by Roberto Focosi, restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden)Rigoletto is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, telling the tragic story of the hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto, and Rigoletto's beautiful daughter Gilda. The Duke in the history is a bit of a playboy, he seduced a courtier's daughter with Rigoletto's encouragement, who curses them. The curse placed on the Duke and Rigoletto hits Gilda instead, who falls in love with the Duke and later sacrifices her life to save the Duke from the assassins hired by Rigoletto, her father. Rigoletto is mad with sorrow when he realizes that it was Gilda, his beloved daughter that got murdered instead of the Duke. The Duke is the character who is singing the famous "La donna è mobile" aria, loved by the gondoliers in Venice. Roberto Focosi's fine illustration was restored by Adam Cuerden.
Crew of an M-24 Chaffee Tank in Korea(created by Sgt. Riley (U.S. Army); nominated by TomStar81)The M24 was a light tank, developed during the Second World War by the United States. This photograph was taken during the Korean War, on the Naktong River front. The M24 tanks and their crews were opposed by North Korean T-34-85s, which were better armoured and armed, and they were replaced after sustaining heavy losses by heavier M4 tanks. The M24s were then switched to reconnaissance roles.
Horse Gram(created by Blacknclick; nominated by Blacknclick) The horse gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum) is a variety of bean grown mostly in the tropics, generally as cattle fodder. In India, however, especially in the south, it is often cooked or sprouted as an ingredient. The Telugu people serve this bean with boiled rice at weddings and ceremonies. The beans are rich in anti-oxidants such as polyphenols and flavonoids; they also contain lots of protein. Our article presently describes an Indian dish that uses horse gram. Please refrain from standing upwind of us if you try it.
Westerlund 2(created by NASA; nominated by Armbrust)The Westerlund 2 cluster is two million years old, and contains of about 3,000 stars, of which at least a dozen are of the hottest, brightest, and most massive stars on the Milky Way, located 20,000 light-years away. We sent one of our editors there to have a look.
Netherlands Indies gulden coin(created by Java Mint, Netherlands Indies (coin), Heritage Auctions (image); nominated by Crisco 1492) The Netherlands Indies silver Java rupee was used in 1803 together with other Dutch, Spanish, and Asian coins on Java from the 15th century and onwards. The silver Indian rupee was a popular local coin on Java. The Arabic text on it means "dirham", and translates simply as "money". The production of silver and gold rupees continued until around 1807–1808.
Blangkon(created and nominated by Chris Woodrich) The blangkon in this picture is a traditional Javanese headgear worn by men, made of batik fabric with applied golden decorations. The blangkons are believed to originate, according to the legend, from king Aji Saka, who brought civilization to the island and who saved Java by covering the entire land with a giant blangkon, during a conflict with evil forces. This Ngayogyakarta-style blangkon is usually worn at weddings.
Witch doctor(created by Lycaon; nominated by Tomer T) A traditional healer or nganga of the Shona people, photographed near the site of Great Zimbabwe. The nganga treats problems of illness and afflictions in his village. Although (according to ethnographer Michael Gelfand) the nganga is neither overly deferred to or feared by his fellow villagers, he acts as the "kingpin of African society" with his influence extending to the selection of tribal chiefs.
Ariadne auf Naxos(created by Unknown artist; restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden)Ariadne auf Naxos is a short opera written by Richard Strauss, a Romantic Austrian composer. The Prologue is set in the home of "the richest man in Vienna"; the evening's after-dinner entertainment is a burlesque followed by a serious opera about Ariadne, presented by a company of saucy comediennes and a company of opera singers respectively. The dinner overruns, and because of the late hour the two companies are instructed to combine their productions, resulting in a combination of "slapstick comedy and consummately beautiful music". Just think- never in the field of human culture has anyone managed to produce a combination of "consummately beautiful comedy and slapstick music".