Editorial: The Arte Mephitic read.
Travel: The cruise ship phenomenon.
Technology: Azio Industry First Luxury Vintage Keyboard.
Stationery: Il Papiro Initial Stickers.
Gadgets and gear: memobottle H2.0.
Books and writing: The Writing in the Stone.
Project of the week: No award this week.

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EDITORIAL: The Arte Mephitic read

Readers who have been following PD for a while now will know that "The Arte Mephitic" has featured twice before, in issues 108 (GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-issue-108/) and 109 (GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-issue-109/), as PD watched its development.

It was written by Phil Breach and illustrated by Russell M. Olson, and published by The Gilded Boar Studio.

However, to paraphrase an old proverb, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating". So does it live up to expectation, now that the book is published and PD has had a chance to read it?

The unequivocal answer is "yes"! The poem is beautifully written in the old style, with not a misstep in either rhyme or rhythm. It builds the atmosphere, as the main character seeks immortality using all types of horrid methods, including creatures that he creates. This horrifying book is well laid out and the accompanying linocut illustrations are superb.

Lovers of poetry, English literature and H.P. Lovecraft will rejoice at this chapbook.

PD rating: 5 paws (out of 5 - this is difficult as PD realises that he only has 4 paws).

FOR THE CURIOUS: Every dog has heard of the proverb "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" but where does the saying come from? It dates back to the fourteenth century when the saying "Jt is ywrite that every thing Hymself sheweth in the tastying" appeared in the book "Kyng Alisaunder", around 1275. The "pudding" bit was added in 1605 by William Camden, who wrote "All the proofe of a pudding, is in the eating." The word "proof" in these phrases means "test".

[Above: William Camden]

FOR THE EVEN MORE CURIOUS: Kyng Alausander is a book written by an unknown author in England c. 1275, telling the story of Alexander The Great.

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TRAVEL: The cruise ship phenomenon

It is rather ironic that people in past times braced themselves for a long voyage when going places and were happy when air travel dramatically cut travel time, and now people are getting back to ships in droves (dogs are unlikely to want to be on a boat).

[Photo: Replica of the Gokstad Viking ship, Chicago, 1893 - note the American flag! Source: Library of Congress, United States]

The rediscovery of sea travel is probably a reaction to the fast pace of life today. Mind you, today's ships are nothing like those of yore. They are more like luxury hotels where you can relax, yet still be connected to your Facebook friends (some dogs may question whether that is truly relaxing, but that is another story).


{Above two photographs: National Geographic Orion]

Today's ships are also huge. Have you seen Venice overshadowed by a towering cruise ship? Not so romantic.


In PD's opinion smaller ships are nicer, more friendly and can get to those special places where the large cruise ships cannot.

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM PD: For conspiracy theorists, the above photograph of a Viking ship flying the American flag is not irrefutable proof that the Vikings conquered the United States. Although the remains of Viking settlements have been found in Newfoundland, no evidence has been found that they actually came down south to Chicago.

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TECHNOLOGY: Azio Industry First Luxury Vintage Keyboard

Readers will no doubt know that PD likes vintage things. Hot on the heels of last week's Avionics V1 electric bike we have this beautifully designed keyboard with old world style but modern workings.

It has old fashioned quality, with a plated zinc aluminum alloy frame, a leather top plate, and hex bolts.

The keys are mechanical, giving an old fashioned typewriter feel, and backlit with LEDs.

The aluminium plaque is a nice touch.

The keyboard is available in USB and Bluetooth versions and comes in three colours (PD is rather partial to he copper-on-black finish shown here, but black-on-black and copper-on-white are also available).

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STATIONERY: Il Papiro Initial Stickers

Il Papiro has long been one of PD's favourite shops and he lives for his next visit to Florence (although there are now branches in other countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States and far-flung Australia). The store was featured in PD a year ago (GHOST_URL/traditional-stationery/%7D

Unlike PD, those not lucky enough to possess a family crest or seal to adorn their letters can still add old-fashioned charm to their correspondence with these wonderful initial stickers (or, as Il papiro calls them, tags). The letters are embossed, giving the sticker a pleasing feel. PD always keeps a set in his desk draw.

Measuring 2,5 x 2,5 cm (approximately 1" square for PD's Transatlantic friends), they add class to any letter. Oh yes, PD should mention that you do not have to change your name to Aleksander; the other letters of the alphabet are also available.

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GADGETS AND GEAR: memobottle H2.0

memobottle ran a successful Kickstarter campaign producing long-lasting BPA-free waterbottles that were designed to be easy to carry. The designers achieved this by making the bottle flat, in three sizes based on paper sizes: A4, A5 and (for Americans) letter.

Now they are back, not only with new sizes but also with smart accessories for the bottles. In keeping with paper sizes there is a 180ml A7 bottle (approximately the size of an average cup) and the tall and thin Slim that breaks with the naming convention.

However, what gets really interesting is the addition of cool accessories, including metal caps in a choice of colours, leather pouches, leather lanyards and stands.

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BOOKS AND WRITING: The Writing in the Stone

What would you do if you were a curator specialising in ancient inscriptions in a prestigious museum and someone showed you a fragment of pottery with what looked like cuneiform writing but you could not read it because the "writing" was in reality the pattern formed by the breakage?

While most dogs and humans would dismiss it, when Irving Finkel from the British Museum came across this problem he took a different approach. It inspired him to turn the story into a book, "The Writing in the Stone".

Set in ancient times in the capital of Nineveh "where resides a deep and complex man, the untouchable power behind the King of the World. Faced with the disastrous likelihood that the ‘writing’ in the stone will fatally undermine his authority, he emerges as a cool, ruthless and psychopathic killer...This book unveils the world of ancient Mesopotamia – man and magic as known from ancient cuneiform writings – in a shocking narrative in which reality and horror intertwine." [Quoted from the author].

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PROJECT OF THE WEEK: No award this week

PD regrets that an award has not been granted this week.

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Important disclaimer: Remember that crowdfunding sites are not stores. You may decide to back this project and provide funds, however there is no guarantee that any project will be delivered - the rate of failure is about 10%. PD is in no way accountable for the success or otherwise of any project and writes in this column purely for entertainment purposes, and will in no way be held liable for any failure or money lost by anyone. It is a case of "buyer beware". It is a sad reflection on the era we live in that PD must resort to this type of disclaimer.

Note: Photographs and illustrations are from the relevant websites and are the copyright of the respective owners.

© 2017 Prowling Dog