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Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

‘There are insufficient symbols to provide a pattern.’

The symbols could be the meaningless response to a disturbed mind.

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How hard would it be to write a suicide note?

And look—a thousand Blossoms with the Day Woke
—and a thousand scatter’d into Clay:
And this first Summer Month that brings the Rose
Shall take {me} away.

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The Somerton Man Investigation – what went wrong.

Fourteen instances

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Pasties and Poison. Pharmacies and Pie-Shops

A man doesn't have to be Dick Tracy.

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The Roundup .. a review of this week’s events.

Book reviews. What not to smoke on a big night. Will John Sanders deliver? A quiet word about Gordon Cramer and a challenge for Badass. It's all here.

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The Woman

Why was he here?

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The squiggle, the dot and the secret of the Somerton Code

Walking back the cat.

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Stencilling tools and Rubaiyat art

It’s long been thought the tools found in the Somerton Man’s suitcase were those of a ship’s 3rd officer, someone who used them to cut out stencils to use in marking up the ship’s cargo, leaving the questions as to why would he have packed six pencils and a collection of oversized envelopes in the same case.

Perhaps he was an artisan and used the the pencils for copying something decorative, the knife and scissors for cutting it out and the brush to keep his work surface clean. The envelopes may have been for storing and protecting his work when travelling.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has proof (below) that artisans were known to stencil cut decorative art in the 19th century.

Still Life Theorem in Grisaille, 19th century, pencil and watercolor on paper, stencil cut, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.210.

Dimensions14 1810 in. (35.825.3 cm)


The header image is of a contemporary stencil-cut piece of artwork called Rubaiyat created by Aditya Rao and was sourced from one of the many decorative borders used in various editions of Omar’s quatrains: ornate and exquisitely wrought borders evident in the earliest of the Rubaiyat editions and something a man with artistic bent might make use of in 1948. The job far easier to complete when the artwork is already done .

Perhaps Prof. Abbott wasn’t that far off the mark when he remarked that the largish envelopes would fit decorative cards the Somerton Man had yet to buy. An artisan on the other hand would be skilful enough to make his own.

The Rubaiyat and suicide.


Joseph Saul Haim Marshall Suicide

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we, too, into the dust descend.
Dust into dust, and under dust to lie
Sans wine, sans song, sans singer and sans end.

Marshall’s brother said, “I have no doubt that this was the form of death that would appeal to my brother, as being the finest and noblest way of terminating his life.”

Thanks Barry Traish …


Elihu Vedder Artist

Title: (Illustration for Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyhem)

The Suicide.


Allegory – death

Allegory – religion – immortality

State of being – death – suicide

Details: Smithsonian American Art Museum


Joan Louise Ogilvie Suicide


The Somerton Man Suicide

And look—a thousand Blossoms with the Day Woke

—and a thousand scatter’d into Clay: 

And this first Summer Month that brings the Rose 

Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.

Was the code written solely for the woman whose phone number appeared above it?

- and a thousand scattered into clay

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