Thursday, February 10, 2005

A project for the new year: reading 2 Encyclopaedias

____I began this in the last days of the old Chinese year, or in the first days of the new Gregorian calendar. I've just read a biographical entry on Benedict XV(Giacomo della Chiesa, 1854-1922). who was Pope from 1914 till 1922. Since reading an encyclopedia has been done numerous times, I will attempt to read and compare at least three, including Webster's Family, Britannica, and Wikipedia.

____Oh, I hadn't yet told you how I was on the staff of the Britannica in 1984, when I worked the night shift doing proof, using a desk top at Britannica's Chicago offices? I worked as part of a team. My work was in the R through Z volumes of the 1985 edition.

____Oh, and back to the B's in these encyclopedias. I'd come across Ahmed Ben Bella (1919- ) Algerian statesman, president from 1963 to 1965, one of the leading figures in the struggle for independence of Algeria. This will bring us to our trek across North Africa, which maybe one might have thought, had they been trying to follow this blog, that I'd got mired somewhere in Morocco. But no, we've arrived at last at the Algerian border, though by the look of things we may as well still be in Morocco.

_____You might get an idea of what this looks like from some photography by Kate Moxham, a photographer who shows her work in New York. We are at a small town called Foum Zguid, which is mentioned in a tour described in "Saharan Exploration," in Powerkite Magazine, out of U.K. I deduce from reports that this area is still recovering from the locust migrations of last year. Chris Scott of the S Files reports that this border was closed last year, so if you're travelling there, use your best judgement and do your homework ahead of time, though be prepared for surprises.

_____However, there is an unsubstantiated rumour that former Algerian president, is advocating the re-opening of the border. Apparently, this border has been closed since 1994. We are awaiting a contact from the Zawya Firm for information on economic and educational opportunities here.

_____Strange as it may seem, there seems to be a brisk trade in some sort of meteorites, whose origins may be dubious, and the proceeds of which may be going to terrorists. This all seems rather mysterious, but you can read it at Sahara Met. At any rate, be careful with whom you associate.

_____For now, then, enjoy your web surfing, or whatever else you happen to be doing as Muharram wanes into al-Jumaa. (Friday, the Moslem week's holy day). And now I bid you all good night. "Tosfih ala hair."

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