Friday, July 29, 2011

Minimum Wage

I Have Seen The Whole Of The Internet

Satan Was A Lesbian

In the 1950s and 1960s, best-selling authors from sci-fi great Robert Silverberg to crime writer Lawrence Block, made ends meets by grinding out softcore porn novels, often using female pen names, to fund their more lofty writing aspirations.

Collectors Weekly gives us a glimpse of a more repressed era when gay women were portrayed as aberrant or unnatural. Lesbian themed books were very popular during a time when lesbians were forced to live closeted lives. Some were novels designed to feed into male sexual fantasies while others were passed off as "scientific case studies".

Kersey Timeslip Mystery

Watercolour of Kersey in 1957 by Jack Merriott
In 1957 three Royal Navy cadets wandered into the British village of Kersey while on a map-reading exercise. What they saw confounded them - the deserted village was much as it might have been in medieval times lacking any signs of modernity.
Years later, William Laing, the Scottish boy who led the group, put it this way: “It was a ghost village, so to speak. It was almost as if we had walked back in time… I experienced an overwhelming feeling of sadness and depression in Kersey, but also a feeling of unfriendliness and unseen watchers which sent shivers up one’s back… I wondered if we’d knocked at a door to ask a question who might have answered it? It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Did the boys travel back in time? Past Imperfect investigates what may have happened.

Survivors Of Fire At Madame Tussaud's

Melted and damaged mannequins after a fire in the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in London, 1930.

Learn Biology Through Animal Crackers

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Doppelganger Dinners

Mike Lee of Studiofeast served a seemingly identical seven-course dinner to twenty vegetarians and twenty omnivores. The vegetarian meals look a lot like those with meat.
For each course Lee composed a dish, and then used completely different ingredients to assemble its equally delicious visual analogue. This is cookery as the counterfeiter’s art: dietary restrictions reframed as sensory surrogates.

IMAGE: The amuses-bouche: vegetarians enjoyed spherified apricot puree in a coconut soup with mint; and ominvores were served salmon roe in Vichyssoise.
IMAGE: Marrow on toast: an incredible 45 hand-carved Yukon Gold potatoes filled with caramelised onions and miso butter on the vegetarians’ plates; the omnivores got real beef bones, with duckfat.
IMAGE: Vegetarians were served carved tofu-cylinders with green beans and kimchi; for omnivores, sea scallops with garlic scape and red pepper.

See more at Edible Geography

My Garden Today

It's been too hot to do much out there. When I ventured out in the early morning the sight of frizzled rose campion, yellow grass and weeds drove me back indoors.

Casablanca lily

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Like a Rolling Stone

The Curious Brain

Helen Shapiro — Once upon a time she was so big the Beatles opened for her

I remember seeing Helen Shapiro in Melody Maker way back when. She was a teenage dynamo who was bigger than the Beatles for a short time.
More at bookofjoe - Via My Rusty Sieve

Porcelain Unicorn

This shows that a good film can be a tear-jerker in just three minutes.

Laughing Squid

Billy Bragg Protests Rupert Murdoch

Billy Bragg sings a song recently written in reaction to the Rupert Murdoch scandal back home in England.

It eloquently gives props to the people of Liverpool, who have been boycotting The Sun ever since the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster killed almost one hundred people and injured hundreds at a football/soccer match. The skewed sensationalistic reporting of the incident horrified the port city. Bragg reasons in the song, “Never Buy the Sun”, that the Scousers (as the Liverpudlians are known after a local dish) are the only ones who can “can hang there with their heads high”.
Read more at PopMatters

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stitches from the soul: Elizabeth Parker's confession

Elizabeth Parker's sampler contains no pretty pictures but it is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum sampler collection. What makes it special are Elizabeth's embroidered words that tell her sad tale. She was born in 1813 to a poor family and forced to leave home for employment as a nurserymaid at the age of 13. She was treated cruelly and was once thrown down the stairs when she spurned her employer's sexual advances. She was abused to the extent that she considered suicide. She embroidered her desperate feelings on canvas where they remain as a testament to the sorry lot of the poor servant girl.
The poignancy of Elizabeth’s words is heightened by their painstaking depic ion in letters formed of tiny cross stitches, in stark red on a plain linen ground, and by her breaking off mid sentence – what will become of my soul – followed by blank space.

Now an American historian, Maureen Daly Goggin, Associate Professor of Rhetoric at Arizona State University, has uncovered new information which reveals that Elizabeth's fate was not to die young and alone.Like her mother, she became a schoolteacher at the Ashburnham charity school, in her home village, and at some point in the 1850s was allowed to move into the Ashburnham almshouses. She lived there until she died, on 10 April 1889, aged 76. Although Elizabeth never married, she raised her sister's daughter, who remained living with her aunt into her twenties. It seems that after such troubled years of young womanhood Elizabeth went on to live a moderately comfortable life, surrounded by family.

Writing Women's History - Via Metafilter

The Original Seven

You'll never guess who these guys are.
In this 1960 photograph, the seven original Mercury astronauts participate in U.S. Air Force survival training exercises at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada. Pictured from left to right are: L. Gordon Cooper, M. Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Virgil I. Grissom, Walter Schirra and Donald K. Slayton. Portions of their clothing have been fashioned from parachute material, and all have grown beards from their time in the wilderness. The purpose of this training was to prepare astronauts in the event of an emergency or faulty landing in a remote area.

Link - Via Uncertain Times

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where people turn into dolls

One of a kind, miniature art doll characters are inspired by wonderful books, old movies, the famous (and not so famous!), everyday people, and imagined characters too.

Johnny Cash


Will and Kate

Lots, lots more at UneekDollDesigns - Via Blort

Fond of Jane

The Curious Brain

Jam this morbid drivel up your ass

Merriam-Webster defines drivel (noun) as drool or nonsense. Is it possible to ram either up one's ass? That said, this is the correspondence writer Mike Peterson received from author Hunter S. Thompson in1971 in response to a piece he submitted to Rolling Stone.

It strikes me as a bit of an overreaction but I like the encouraging postscript.

Read more at Letters of Note

Handy Tea Towels

I like these tea towels I bought at Zehrs that provide weight and temperature conversions, abbreviations, capacity and roasting temperatures. Now I can toss the photocopied sheet I have on the fridge.

Auditions for a black cat, 1961

Photograph by Ralph Crane, LIFE archive
It is thought that that this audition may have been for director Roger Corman’s Tales of Terror (1962), film adaptations of a trio of Edgar Allen Poe stories including “The Black Cat.”

See more photos at this link - Via Boing Boing

What kids of the world eat at school

You are what you eat. In some countries kids are fed with really delicious food, in some – with food rich in nutrients and vitamins, while in others kids do not get enough vitamins from food at all.


I'm not sure what children in Canada are fed at school. When I was a kid my mother packed me a peanut butter sandwich, a piece of fruit, a cookie and a carton of milk every single day.  I hate peanut butter with a passion now.
My boys came home for lunch when they were in elementary school and I packed lunches for them when they were in high school. Once a McDonald's went up next to the school I suspect they threw out the packed lunches and opted for fat and grease.

See more here - Via Frogsmoke

Friday, July 22, 2011

The secret to getting people to click on ads online? Cats

Red Square Agency ran four ads on Facebook all limited in content by Facebook's space constraints. The fourth ad featured Cous Cous the cat and read: “This ad features a cat: It has nothing to do with Red Square Agency but we hope you’ll click on it anyway.” The cat ad got a terrific response. So they ran a second ad with the cat.
The numbers show that the ads are working. The click-through rate is equal to that of the original Cous Cous, and 11 per cent of the people clicking on the ads actually calling the agency.

Research on internet advertising has shown that ads featuring breasts achieved a 61 per cent higher response rate than those that didn’t. Perhaps Red Square would get maximum bang for their buck if they ran another ad that had Cous Cous flashing some cleavage....

Parahawking Over Nepal

In 2001British falconer Scott Mason realized that birds of prey could be trained to guide paragliders to thermals and parahawking, a sport that combines paragliding with falconry, was born. Only rescued birds are used and are given in-flight treats as rewards.
Thanks Bruce!

The perfectly preserved pooches of Castle Bitov

Baron Georg Haas was an animal lover who kept as many as 200 dogs on the grounds of his home, Castle Bitov in the Czech Republic. When they died he stuffed some of them and the collection is now a tourist attraction.

Unfortunately, Baron Haas was not allowed too much time to enjoy his quirky collection. Despite being a vocal anti-Fascist during the Second World War, he was nevertheless an ethnic German. At the end of the war he was given just 24 hours by Czech partisans to leave everything he owned behind and get out of the country.

At the age of 64, and no-doubt broken-hearted at leaving his beloved castle and menagerie, he was forced to leave by foot across the Austrian border. He was later found dead, having shot himself.

The idea of stuffing a beloved pet might seem strange to a lot of people but I admit to having considered taxidermy
(albeit only half seriously) when some of my dear pets died.

Mail Online Via Dangerous Minds

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Dark Side of Love

It doesn't matter whether his name is Doug or Darth, when a relationship goes bad it's the same old story. After about two years he's not at home much anymore. While you're at home looking after Baby Darth he's off playing tennis. You hit him across the head with a pot and it goes downhill from there.

Vintage Batman Dress

I'd look like some eccentric old lady if I wore this but I want it anyhow.

Jennifer Shaw's Hurricane Story

New Orleans photographer, Jennifer Shaw, used plastic cameras to create images depicting her family's experiences pre and post Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The photos are hauntingly beautiful and the story is an interesting one.

"Hurricane Story is a depiction of our family's evacuation experience -
the birth, the travels and the return. These photographs represent various
elements of our ordeal. The project began as a cathartic way to process some
of the lingering anger and anxiety over that bittersweet journey. It grew into a
narrative series of self-portraits, recreated in constructed tableaus, using small toys to illustrate my experiences and emotional state during our time in exile.'"

Cyanide, Uranium, and Ammonium Nitrate: When Kids Really Had Fun With Science

Remember the days when every nerdy boy and girl wanted to be a mad scientist?Collectors Weekly compares vintage science toys with ones made today. I remember coveting most of these; the ant farm and visible man/woman were very popular when I was a kid.

Luckily the Atomic Energy Lab, which may be the most dangerous toy ever made, never appeared under my Christmas tree.

In 1951, Gilbert released an “Atomic Energy Lab,” which contained three “very low-level” radioactive sources (alpha, beta, and gamma particles), a U-239 Geiger counter, a Wilson cloud chamber, a spinthariscope, four samples of uranium-bearing ores, and an electroscope to measure radioactivity.

Fortunately, this expensive kit—in today’s dollars, it would cost the equivalent of $350—was not a big hit for Christmas that year, and production ended in 1952. Back in the day, some may have naively believed radiation to be harmless or beneficial, but we now know exposure to the U-238 isotope is linked to cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, and even Gulf War syndrome.

See more here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bear In Rome Zoo Trying to Keep Cool

Image by Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images
This bear is taking a dip at the Bioparco Zoo in Rome. Animals there are being given extra portions of frozen fruit to help them beat the heat. I'm glad I'm not wearing a fur coat today!
Via The Daily Beast

You Had A Muscle Car You Had Independence

This guy likes old things. I do too.
Via Laughing Squid

Dog Photos from the Kennel Club Archive

All images courtesy of the UK Kennel Club
I love vintage dog photos. In fact I have a small collection that I'm building. I'm particularly touched by those that have award ribbons or locks of dog hair under the glass.

The Incredible Glasswing Butterfly

These transparent butterflies live in the rainforest from Mexico to Panama and in South America.
The wings of the glasswing must have the same refractive index all the way through them as otherwise this transparency could not possibly occur. It is thought (a postulation at the moment rather than sure fire fact) that the surface of the wing has a covering of protrusions that are so small they can be called submicroscopic. They have a single refractive index and so do not scatter light, so making the wings transparent.

See lots of pretty pictures and read more here.
Via Kuriositas

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Douglas Smith's Photographs of the California Foreclosure Crisis

Take a walk through the streets of Brentwood, Stockton or Modesto, and you could be forgiven for thinking life has returned to normal. Back in 2007 and 2008, these Northern California cities were at the center of the foreclosure crisis. The neighborhoods looked like models of suburban tranquility — sunny weather, new homes, asphalt smooth enough to walk on barefoot — and yet it seemed every other house was for sale. Bright yellow “Bank Owned” signs fronted houses with dead lawns, boarded windows and mildewed stucco. Something was wrong.

[All photographs by Douglas Smith]

Read Alex Schafran's essay at Design Observer

All Of Harry Potter Re-Enacted By Cats in 1 Minute

Couldn't resist posting this. It's hilariously cute.
The Curious Brain

Mad Men Opening Titles Re-Design

This is for Mr. Nag who loves Mad Men as much as I do.
Via The Curious Brain

The Royal Tenenbaums' House

I love this movie. It was shot at an amazing house at Convent Avenue and 144th Street in Harlem. The house inspired Anderson when he was making the film.

Via Kottke

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Joined Google+ Today

Fortunately the internet is there to enhance my Google+ experience:

Trolling on Google+

Via Sober in a Nightclub


21 Google+ Circles You Can Actually Use