Rome, 1860

Intriguing shot of the Coliseum, Meta Sudans and the Arch of Constantine. Tourism was quite different back then.


Another image from 1858:


The conical monument in front is the Meta Sudans, or the “sweating cone,” a large conical fountain in ancient Rome built some time between 89 and 96 A.D. It marked the spot where a Roman triumphal procession would turn left from the via Triumphalis along the east side of the Palatine onto the via Sacra and into the Forum Romanum itself. The ruins of Meta Sudans survived until the 20th century. In 1936 Benito Mussolini, il stronzo, had its remains demolished and paved over to make room for the new traffic circle around the Colosseum. A commemorative plaque was set in the road. Although the above-ground structure is gone, its foundations were later re-excavated, revealing the extensive substructure. After another excavation in 1997-98 the traffic circle was closed and the area became a pedestrian district.

The same view today:


Photo by Konrad Zielinski, found at

Il vecchio lupo ha parlato.

Reunion of Gettysburg Veterans, 1913



Read about the 1913 Gettysburg Reunion at Wikipedia.

More information and more photos can be found at the Guardian.

I spent a year at Gettysburg College, but given my lack of transportation, spent little time on the battlefields. Later in life, however, I came to get a sense of the power of Lincoln’s words:

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

Those fields are a place of deep contemplation and introspection, and I feel the presence there of those who died, North and South, defending what they believed in.

Gettysburg Monument

The Old Wolf has spoken.

They should have hired a cat long ago

Along with all his other glorious insanity, Gary Larson created this gem:

Gary Larson - The Far Side

Gary Larson – The Far Side

The dog looking out the window had the answer right under his nose, but he failed to make the critical connection:


Over at the BBC, you can watch Dexter help his friend Gizmo overcome the obstacle. Apparently this is not an isolated incident; Dexter the cat and his dog pal Gizmo were shut in the kitchen at owner Matt Hurst’s home in Sheffield every morning when he left for work. After finding them in the rest of the house for three days running, a confused Mr Hurst set up a camera to find out how they were making their escape. Click through for the full story and video.

Thanks to my friend Billy O’Shea for pointing out this lovely story.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Constantinople, not İstanbul

Note: The title of this post, a riff on the song title “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” by Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon, is a simple reference to the fact that when these photos were taken, the city was still called Constantinople in the minds of many people, even though the Christian era officially ended in 1453. The blog is not intended to be a place for religious or political bickering; given the nature of the comments that are starting to appear, comments have now been closed.

Photography in Istanbul became popular in 1850. However, in 1843 the French photographer Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey was the first person to photograph the city. Remarkably, his photographs were only discovered in the 1920s in a storeroom of his estate and then only became known eighty years later. Some of his work is seen below.


A panoramic view of Constantinople. One of the first pictures ever captured of the city. 1844.

Istanbul Overview 1944

A larger section of the above photo.


Beyazıt Camii (Beyazid II Mosque)

Sarıyer'de dalyanlar

Sariyer Fisheries






Alay Köşkü (Procession Kiosk)

Various untitled photos


Beyazıt Camii


İstanbul is one of the most captivating cities in the world. I’ve spent many hours wandering its streets and bazaars and mosques and monuments; I’d love to be able to go back and spend a lot more time exploring it. Oh, the food, and the spices, and the lokum and the sahlep and the ayran and the…

The Old Wolf has spoken.

50 Years Later

MIT graduating class of 1875, shown 50 years later in 1925



This is an awesome photo. It’s beautiful because they were able to get so many of the class members together 50 years later, given that life expectancies were so much shorter back then.

But such things still happen:

Hunter 3


This is the nursery school class at Hunter College Elementary School, taken at the end of the year when most of us had just turned 4 years old. I’m not going to tell you which one I am, but if you have spent any time at all reading this blog, it’s pretty obvious. Among this group are prominent urologists, television producers, attorneys, psychologists, and a whole host of others. Most of them, by nature of the New York demographic that this experimental school drew from, were Jewish;  the old joke about the mother who points to her three year old and her five year old, “This is the doctor and this is the lawyer” is probably more true than any of us would like to admit. When I say “us,” I mean the class in general – among the boys, I think I was one of two or three goyim in my entire class.

57 years later, the graduating class of 1962 got together again. The quality of this picture is hqiz, but trying to get a bunch of people of this caliber to hold still for a photo is like herding cats.

Best Group Shot (Hal)


What astonished us is that even after so long, so many relationships endured the test of time, and conversations were resumed as though graduation had been yesterday. It was an amazing experience.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

12 Habits of Healthy, Happy People Who Don’t Give A Rat’s South-40 About Your Inner Peace

Note: This has been reblogged from Yoganonamous. It has been bowdlerized for my audience (if you haven’t used that word before, it means I’ve cleaned it up a bit.) If you want to read the original in all its salty glory, you may do so at the original page. The Old Wolf approves this philosophy.

12 Habits of Healthy, Happy People Who Don’t Give A Rat’s South-40 About Your Inner Peace


Every time someone in my Facebook feed posts something like this, I click it. Every single time.

We all have this Facebook friend, right? People you genuinely love and admire. People you like hanging out with. People you invite to your birthday parties. You know. Actual friends. Until you’ve clicked links exactly like this again and again and again. For years. And all of a sudden, you start to wonder if this is some elaborate hoax, if you’ve actually just been reading the same article over and over.

It’s not like I have anything against happiness, or success, or meditation, or yoga, or being nice, or smiling more, or eating healthy, or losing weight, or being your best you, or embracing the day with a positive attitude. Those all sound great. Honestly, they do. And there are some really smart, simple truths to be found in all of those articles. There truly are.

It’s just that I have a problem with being told to do all of those things by skinny blonde ladies laughing on a beach wearing yoga pants.

Don’t believe me? Take the challenge. Next time you read one of these articles, I dare you not to play Inspirational Photo Bingo:


Don’t believe me? Compiling these photos took less than four minutes.












I can’t remember the last time I pranced around a tropical island paradise waving a white scarf around my head as a professional photographer snapped a picture, but I bet if I did, I’d be a whole lot happier too.

Below please find my version of this article, that I want to share with you, the internet. May it bring you all the inner peace you can cram into your backpacking gear right before downward dogging it atop that mountain at sunrise.

  • Do whatever you want.
  • Do whatever you want.
  • Seriously, do you want that burger? Then just eat a burger. Don’t be gross about it, and don’t eat a burger three meals a day. But I beg you, women and image-conscious male humans of the world, stop beating yourself up about it and just eat the burger.
  • Do whatever you want.
  • Have good friends. Call them. Complain a little. That’s what friends are for. Return the favor. Don’t be a crappy friend.
  • Learn how to laugh about farts. Fart more. Laugh about it.
  • Be incessantly curious about the world around you! Experience art, science, beauty, and nature! But stop beating yourself up on those nights when you just want to sit your ass on the couch and watch reruns of Friends.
  • Smile when you feel like smiling. Laugh whenever you feel like laughing. Pro tip: Being told to ‘laugh more’ is not going to make you laugh more. Being told to ‘smile more’ is not going to make you smile more.
  • Make time for yourself. After you’ve run that 5K, started a load of laundry, harvested your organic vegetable garden, run to the bank, paid the bills, dazzled everyone with recipes that are cost-effective, healthy, and delicious, thought of something witty and clever to share with your social networking site, caught up on current events and politics, and cleaned all of the house, that special hour set aside just for you is so critical to your well-being.*
  • Do whatever you want.
  • Don’t care what other people think. Unless they’re right. In which case, humble yourself enough to listen to them.
  • Do. Whatever. You Want.

Do what you want. Be your self. Don’t be a terrible person. Be nice to others. Be supportive of your friends and allow yourself to give them the benefit of the doubt when they want to try something new, like rescuing shelter dogs, or making performance art in the nude, or dating terrible people. They’re your friends and you love them, and if they suck, stop being their friend. Show up for work. Pay your bills. Find some purpose in your life, and figure out a way to share that purpose with others in a way that isn’t sanctimonious and doesn’t involve a picture of a woman laughing at an empty beach. Smile because something makes you smile. Laugh because you’ve surrounded yourself by people who make you laugh, and they’re funny people, and you’re happy to be with them. Dance because you’re drunk at a big dance party with your friends and Michael Jackson is playing, not because ‘no one is watching.’ Everyone is watching. We’re at a party. That’s how parties work.

Do whatever you want.

And the next time one of you has the kind of spare cash around to take a prancercise vacation to a tropical island, for the love of all that is holy please bring me with you. I am excellent at waving scarves around but even better at buying drinks with tiny umbrellas.

*And I don’t even have kids! Or a husband! Or a boyfriend! I can’t even imagine how condescending that advice must feel to working moms. As someone who works all the time and can barely remember which day of the week the trash gets taken out: making time for yourself seems like one of the cruelest bits of advice of all. I’ll make plenty of time for myself. Once I finish all of the things.

With massive thanks to Katherine Fritz, who has a great blog called “I Am Begging My Mother not to Read This Blog,

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Be noble, for you are made of stars.

There is supposedly a Serbian proverb that states, “Будите скромни за вас су од земље, да буде племенита за вас су од звезда.”

Be humble, for you are made of earth. Be noble, for you are made of stars.


Whether it is Serbian in origin or not, it’s a good proverb. I like it. Because it’s true. From Random Science Tools comes this chart of the relative preponderance of elements in the body of an average 70kg man:

Element             Amount / kg  Amount / Mol.
Oxygen   43 2700
Carbon 16 1300
Hydrogen 7 7000
Nitrogen 1 .8 130
Calcium 1 .0 25
Phosphorus 0 .78 25
Sulphur 0 .14 4 .4
Potassium 0 .14 3 .6
Sodium 0 .10 4 .3
Chlorine 0 .095 2 .7
Magnesium 0 .019 0 .78
Silicon 0 .018 0 .64
Iron 0 .0042 0 .075
Fluorine 0 .0026 0 .14
Zinc 0 .0023 0 .035
Rubidium 0 .00032 0 .0037
Strontium 0 .00032 0 .0037
Bromine 0 .00020 0 .0025
Lead 0 .00012 0 .00058
Copper 0 .000072 0 .0011
Aluminium 0 .000061 0 .0023
Cadmium 0 .000050 0 .00044
Boron < 0 .000048 0 .0044
Barium 0 .000022 0 .00016
Tin < 0 .000017 0 .00014
Iodine 0 .000013 0 .00010
Manganese 0 .000012 0 .00022
Nickel 0 .000010 0 .00017
Gold < 0 .000010 0 .000051
Molybdenum < 0 .0000093 0 .000097
Chromium < 0 .0000018 0 .000035
Caesium 0 .0000015 0 .000011
Cobalt 0 .0000015 0 .000025
Uranium 0 .00000009 0 .00000038
Beryllium 0 .000000036 0 .0000040
Radium 3.1×10-14 1.4×10-13

Chemical composition of the human body by mass


As little as it may be, we have gold in us. And other rare elements. And we have to remember that at the creation of the universe, the only elements present were hydrogen and helium. Every other naturally-occurring element in the periodic table was born in the hearts of dying stars which ended their lives as supernovæ, or – as recently hypothesized in the case of heavier elements like gold – in collisions between neutron stars.


I like Carl Sagan’s quote, which he also managed to work into his book Contact: “The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” Whether we are alone in the universe is a question which science has yet to answer, but it’s pretty mind-bending to think that the elements which make up our bodies came from the universe around us. As astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson said,

“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.”

The Old Wolf has spoken.

If the world were 100 people

50 would be female
50 would be male

20 would be children
There would be 80 adults,
14 of whom would be 65 and older

There would be:
61 Asians
12 Europeans
13 Africans
14 people from the Western Hemisphere

There would be:
31 Christians
21 Muslims
14 Hindus
6 Buddhists
12 people who practice other religions
16 people who would not be aligned with a religion

17 would speak a Chinese dialect
8 would speak Hindustani
8 would speak English
7 would speak Spanish
4 would speak Arabic
4 would speak Russian
52 would speak other languages

☛ 82 would be able to read and write; 18 would not

  1 would have a college education
1 would own a computer

☛ 75 people would have some supply of food and a place to
shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 25 would not

 1 would be dying of starvation
 17 would be undernourished
15 would be overweight

83 would have access to safe drinking water
☛ 17 people would have no clean, safe water to drink

We have so very far to go, and there is so much work to be done, if we are to build a world that works for “100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”  (R. Buckminster Fuller)

The Old Wolf has spoken.