Does the Rhine River ever freeze over? It did in February 1929 as far downstream as the Nibelungen Bridge at Worms. There's a local legend that somebody set up a carousel on the ice, but this blogger finds no evidence.
Reading Ammianus Marcellinus has got me curious about the obelisks of Rome. This one is the Obelisk of Antinous, which the Emperor Hadrian commissioned in remembrance of his drowned sweetheart around 130 AD. It was carved in Egypt and delivered brand new to Rome, so it doesn't count among the ones taken from Egypt as loot. It's also known as the Pincian Obelisk after its location on the Pincian Hill. Read its history at the excellent Following Hadrian blog.
The Buddha Hall is the central building of Engaku-ji. This structure only goes back to 1964. It was build, with a lot more cement than the original, to replace the one destroyed by the great earthquake of 1923. Source. Look here to see a set of pictures of Engaku-ji during a snowstorm.
Morton visit Ibrox for a Scottish Cup fifth round match against Rangers.
Morton's Scottish Cup record against Rangers is pretty dismal, the one shining exception being 1922 when we beat them in the final. Gers won the other twelve times, though Morton took it to a replay three of those times. The last time Morton won at Ibrox in any competition was November 29th, 1980, in league play.
Nevertheless, Rangers are freaking out. In their last five league matches they have one win, two draws and two losses. They are 27 points behind Celtic. The Scottish Cup is their last chance for a trophy this year.
Friday they sacked manager Mark Warburton. That's the second manager sacking this week for which Morton can take at least partial responsibilty. Today Rangers are under the whip of interim manager Graeme Murty.
Which Scottish clubs have beaten Rangers this season? Celtic, Aberdeen, Hearts. Any others? Burnley, Red Bull Leipzig, in friendlies. Which clubs have played Rangers to a draw? Hamilton, Kilmarnock, St Johnstone (twice), Ross County (three times).
Today's match is on Sunday because TV, and on TV because Rangers.
Morton have already begun to assemble their 2017-18 squad, signing Dumbarton's Robert Thomson to a 'pre-contract agreement'. Thomson is still with Dumbarton till the end of this season.
[Rangers win 2 - 1. A goal by Tidser gave Morton the lead for six minutes in the first half.]
Other games involving Championship clubs:
Ayr United 1 - 1 Clyde
In five previous Scottish Cup meetings, Clyde have four wins to Ayr's one.
Dunfermline 1 - 1 Hamilton
Dunfermline and Hamilton have met in three Scottish Cups, the Accies winning twice, the Pars once.
East Fife 2 - 3 St Mirren
These two have been drawn together in the Scottish Cup twice before, but they've managed to stretch that out to five matches. In 1970-71 it took two replays for St Mirren to prevail, and in 1985-86 it went to a replay again before St Mirren won again.
Hearts [0 - 0] Hibs
These two have been drawn together in Scottish Cup action 25 times altogether, beginning in 1877. Hearts have prevailed 14 times, Hibs 11. The last occasion was Round Five last year when Hibs won and went on to hoist the Cup.
How did Morton fare in their first ever Scottish Cup game against each current Championship club?
St Mirren Sept 30, 1882 home W 5 - 1 R2
Hibs Dec 6, 1884 away L 4 - 0 R5
Falkirk Feb 10, 1912 away D 0 - 0 R2
Raith Rovers Feb 21, 1920 away D 2 - 2 R3
Dundee United Jan 19, 1929 away L 3 - 1 R1
Queen of the South Feb 22, 1936 home W 2 - 0 R3
Ayr United March 5, 1938 home D 1 - 1 R3
Dunfermline Jan 21, 1939 away L 5 - 2 R1
Dumbarton Feb 18, 1984* home W 2 - 1 R4
*Given that Dumbarton and Morton were both founded in the 1870s this happened about 100 years later than you would expect.
Rangers have won the Scottish Cup four times in the 21st Century (five times if you count 1999-00). What clubs have eliminated them in that period?
2014-15 Raith Rovers
2013-14 Dundee United
2012-13 Dundee United
2011-12 Dundee United
2009-10 Dundee United
2000-01 Dundee United
Which clubs have played the most games (in all competitions) against Rangers in the 2010s?
16 Celtic, Motherwell
13 Falkirk, Queen of the South
Copa Liberadores, second stage, leg two:
The Strongest 4 - 0 Montevideo Wanderers
Olimpia 3 - 1 Independiente del Valle
Universitario 0 - 3 Deportivo Capiatá
The Strongest, Olimpia, and Deportivo Capiatá advance.
It was the playoff round of the 2017 AFC Champions League this midweek. One Japanese club was involved, Gamba Osaka. They beat Johor Darul Ta'zim of Malaysia 3 - 0 to advance to the group stage.
Winterthur 1 - 4 Servette
Largs 1 - 1 Beith in the West of Scotland Cup R2. Largs win on penalty kicks.
Not everyone enjoys Nō. Many in the audience doze, somehow able to awaken at the key moments. In the past, when commoners were only rarely permitted to attend performances of Nō, they eagerly bought tickets only to discover that they could not understand what was going on. On one such occasion a man tried to leave, but he was informed this would be interpreted as a sign of disrespect to the nobles attending; if he absolutely had to leave, he would have to pay an exit fee! The first Europeans who saw Nō were most unappreciative. W. G. Aston, who in 1899 wrote what was for many years the only history of Japanese literature in English, stated, "The Nō are not classical poems. They are too deficient in lucidity, method, coherence, and good taste to deserve this description. . . . As dramas the Nō have little value. There is no action to speak of, and dramatic propriety and effects are hardly thought of." The British diplomat Lord Redesdale, who served in Japan from 1866 to 1870, pronounced the Nō to be "wholly unintelligible."
Donald Keene, The Pleasures of Japanese Literature, page 114.
It's Prešeren Day, on which Slovenians mark the death in 1849 of their national poet France Prešeren, and celebrate Slovenian culture. This statue is in Kranj, but there's a much larger monument in Ljubljana.