Saturday, August 31, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Useless Box with Surprises

Frequent contributor, Bruce, sent me this video of a totally useless gadget with several additions: buzzer, audio output, motors and wheels, sonar, and a surrender flag.
I can't believe I watched the whole thing!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius, Michael Brecker - "Shadows And Light".

Via Duck Soup

Happy Birthday Dinah

Sideboard For Tivoli Audio

I have a few Tivoli radios. I'd love to have this Remix Sound Sideboard created especially for Tivoli Audio. It provides the perfect space for Tivoli’s Radio Combo. Of course I'd have to update my antique home decor to match this piece but I'm ready for a change.


Last House Standing

Ben Marcin's Last House Standing project features photos of solo row houses. "Standing alone, in some of the worst neighborhoods, these nineteenth century structures were once attached to similar row houses that made up entire city blocks."

I think these houses in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Camden look sad and lonely.


The 80 rules of Social Media

Click here for a larger view

Via The Curious Brain

The Art of NASA

NASA’s Art Program began in 1962 and enlisted some of the era’s greatest visual artists from various disciplines and backgrounds to convey the Space Agency’s research in ways more interesting to the public than graphs and scientific reports. The collection includes artworks by such legends as Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and Annie Leibovitz.

'Sky Garden' by Robert Rauschenberg, 1969 (lithograph on canvas)

'Moonwalk 1' by Andy Warhol, 1987 (silkscreen on paper)

'Gemini Launch Pad' by James Wyeth, 1964 (watercolor on paper)

NASA/ART: 50 Years of Exploration is written James D. Dean, founder of the NASA Art Program and its director from 1962 to 1974.

Read lots more at Brain Pickings

Yma Sumac and the Performance of Inca Identity

Yma Sumac was a Peruvian soprano who won international fame in the 1950s. Her success was based, at least in part, on her vocal range which was said to be well over four octaves. Or was she a bored Brooklyn housewife named Amy Camus (Yma Sumac spelled backwards) ?

Accounts of Sumac’s life are full of fantasy and contradictions. Zoila Mendoza, a Peruvian anthropologist whose mother was a childhood friend of the singer in Peru, sets the record straight in this article at The Appendix.
More here

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nina Simone: Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead)

Immediately following Dr. King's assassination, his friend and fellow civil rights activist, Dr. Nina Simone and her bass player, Gene Taylor, penned the tribute "Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead)". It was performed by Nina Simone for the first time at the Westbury Music Fair, three days after Dr. King's death.

Nigerian Hair Trends in the 60s and 70s

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Nigeria-based J.D. Okhai Ojeikere documented more than 1,000  sculptural hair designs found along everyday streets, at weddings and in offices. The series, entitled Hairstyles, features an extensive assortment of braids, buns, ringlets, curls, and twists presented both as a creative series as well as a documentation of Nigerian trends and culture more than 40 years ago.

 My Modern Metropolis

Marie Curie's Papers Are Still Radioactive

Marie Sklodowska-Curie was the first person to receive the Nobel prize, the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences but died of leukemia as a result of radioactive exposure in the course of her research.

Many library collections use special equipment, such as special gloves and climate-controlled rooms, to protect the archival materials from the visitor. For the Pierre and Marie Curie collection at France's Bibliotheque National, it's the other way around.That's because after more than 100 years, much of Marie Curie's stuff – her papers, her furniture, even her cookbooks – are still radioactive.
People who want to peruse the collection must wear protective clothing and sign a release.

The Taxi Driver by Louis Portugais

This short 1954 film from the Faces of Canada series follows taxi driver Gerry Lane as he takes various customers to their chosen destinations. A sweet slice of Montreal, my hometown.


Thanks  NFB!

Climate Name Change

Since 1954, the World Meteorological Organization has been naming extreme storms after people. How about naming extreme storms caused by climate change, after the ill-informed policy makers who deny climate change and obstruct climate policy?
If you agree, sign the petition at

A Song of Our Warming Planet

Instead of using the usual graphs and technical illustrations cellist, Daniel Crawford, has composed a haunting song that turns charted data of climate change into an ominous serenade.

A Song of Our Warming Planet from Ensia on Vimeo.

“What we’re trying to do is represent with the music the immediacy and the importance that the issue has right now, and if we act on that then maybe it won’t be as much of an issue for the future.”

More at this Link

He Had a Dream

August 28, 1963. "Emancipator looking down on demonstrators. Participants in the March on Washington in front of the Lincoln Memorial and massed along both sides of the Reflecting Pool, viewed from behind Abraham Lincoln statue."

Photo by James K. Atherton for UPI Via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive

Our Bad

From the wonderful and talented Steve Vermillion: Apology notes from the NSA to spied-upon private citizens.
Marman Borins, Flip To, 2012. Courtesy the artists and the
Tierney Gardarin Gallery, New York.

To Mr. Robert Conway:
You can’t imagine our embarrassment when, during the course of re-reviewing your emails and telephone calls, we discovered the term “Thermonuclear” Nachos was actually the title of a recipe and not a threat to our national security. Please accept our apologies.

More apologies at The Morning News

The Endicott Pear Tree

One of America's earliest settlers is still alive today! In approximately 1630 John Endicott, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, planted one of the first fruit trees to be cultivated in America: a pear sapling imported from across the Atlantic.  The resilient 383 year old tree has survived hurricanes and vandalism and continues to bear fruit in modern day Salem.

More at TreeHugger

Drinker at Yukon Watering Hole Purposely Swallows Human Toe

On Saturday night a patron at the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City deliberately swallowed the severed toe in the establishment's trademark Sourtoe Cocktail. The man, a card-carrying member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, drank the cocktail, swallowed the toe, put $500 on the table and left. To gain full membership in the club people agree to abide by the club rules, including a $500 fine if the toe is ingested.

(In case you're wondering, people donate toes lost in accidents or through illness, or have stipulated in their wills that they want a toe or toes donated to the bar.)

More at  The Globe and Mail

More disgusting Canadian food in the news:
Maple bacon jam identified as culprit in CNE Cronut burger illnesses

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Atlantic Road: the World's Best Road Trip

Norway's Atlantic Road is 8.3-kilometers long and zigzags across eight low bridges. In 2005 it was the winner of the “Engineering Feat of the Century” prize and in 2006 The Guardian declared it the world’s best road trip. Driving it in stormy weather is a thrilling way to wash your car.

More at Impressive Magazine

Drinking the Vino Loco

Regular wine has been known to make me crazy. I don't think I want to find out what this straitjacketed Loco wine would do to me.

Astronaut Smartphone Stand

I must have this!

 Shut Up And Take My Money

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ancient Tramway Still In Use

The mining town of Chiatura, Georgia, surrounded by steep cliffs, is criss-crossed by a network of aging Soviet-era aerial tramways that are still in use today. I'm not sure I'd feel safe in one of these.

Via  Messy Nessy Chic

I Forgot My Phone

Does anyone else find this horrifying?

Written by/Starring Charlene deGuzman
Directed by Miles Crawford
Via Coudal Partners

Dog Days of Summer

Those wretched hot, humid summer "dog days" owe their name to the Roman Empire. The Romans called them dies caniculares, which meant “dog star days” after Sirius, the Dog Star. As we get ready to bid farewell to dog days for another year John Foster has posted some lovely dogs in art.

Painted sheet iron St. Bernard dog with target circle when hit triggered
the dog to flip over.  c.1920-40s

Image © Elliott Erwitt, photographer
Paris, 1989

Allen McCollum
The Dog From Pompeii, 1991

Lots more wonderful dogs at Design Observer

Sunburn Situations

Lauren at The Doppelganger wanted to show the marks that can be left behind after being sunburnt and how they look while wearing other stuff. It's done with eyeshadow and sunscreen lotion applied with a medium sized paintbrush and some touching up in Photoshop.


Via Blort

Sunday, August 25, 2013

18 Everyday Products You've Been Using Wrong

Now they tell me! I wish I'd learned about this earlier in life. I have had many mishaps with rolls of aluminum foil.

Most aluminum foil boxes have press-in tabs that secure the roll in place, so you don’t have worry about it flying out every time you rip off a sheet.

More  Everyday Products You've Been Using Wrong

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sandwich Sandals

If you have $150.00 to spare these Sandwich Sandals are the ideal footwear for eating your way around the world in 29 sandwiches.

Ladies and gentlemen: the indomitable Mayor Rob Ford!

Continuing a string of feats  that present him in a more positive light (saving the life of Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallionbreaking up a football game fight in St. Catharines) Toronto Mayor Ford takes down Hulk Hogan. If hizzoner loses the next election he may have a new career with the WWF.

Is it enough to make folks forget that pesky crack video?

More at  CBC News

Lizzy this morning

We've been enjoying our son's dog Lizzy who has been staying with us while our son settles into his new job and living quarters. She came to Canada as a rescue dog from a kill shelter in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and has been a wonderful pet. Mr. Nag took this photo of her this morning.

Around The World In 29 Sandwiches

I love sandwiches, the perfect portable food, but have tasted very few of these. When I was in Uruguay a few years ago I had the Chivito (little goat) which includes everything but the kitchen sink: beef, mozzarella, tomatoes, mayonnaise, black or green olives, and often also bacon, fried or hard-boiled eggs, and ham. It was messy but delicious.

Later on I heard a rather stiff British woman describing the sandwich and commenting, "Who in their right mind would eat one of those?"

There was no Canadian sandwich on this list but if there were it would probably be back bacon on a bun. The one below is topped with maple beer bbq sauce for extra Canadian goodness.

Image credit

More sandwiches at Buzzfeed

$229,000 Will Buy You A House In Toronto

Who says Toronto real estate values are too high? Here's a detached property in a good location for just $229,000. Mind you this "house" has no running water, backyard, or parking and purchasers will have to get an occupancy permit from the city before they can live in it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Virgin's Glass-Bottomed Plane

Richard Branson has announced that Virgin Atlantic now has the technology required to produce the world’s first glass-bottomed plane. Being acrophobic this would be my worst nightmare.

More at

*Edit: See Simon's comment below.

Eric and Winston, Nerd Vandals

Defacing a car with a math equation is kind of funny but did they have to use a permanent marker? That's harsh!
Unmute the audio on the embedded Vine. (Created by Jack and Jack)

Via Laughing Squid

Trash Is Art

Artist Francisco de P├íjaro aka Art is Trash uses paint, markers and clear packing tape to create monsters out of garbage. He says he started working in this trashy medium after painting on the street was outlawed in Barcelona in 2006.

The above installations were created in London.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

"They're young... They're in love... They eat LARD"

"1957, Issued by the British Lard Marketing Board in conjunction with the Department of Health."

Via bookofjoe

So a French Balloon Walks Into A Bar

Via The Morning News

Woodpile Office

This woodpile office in Hilversum, Netherlands was designed by Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek. It is fully ventilated with sliding glass windows and sits by the edge of the woods. It would make a perfect blogging space.

Via accidental mysteries

Van Gogh In Motion

Van Gogh Shadow is a short film by Luca Agnani using various Digital lighting, 3D and Visual Mapping techniques to create this cool and creative video of Van Gogh paintings coming to life.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bicycle Fountain

"Fountain"is an installation by Berlin based street artist, Brad Downey. He has given an abandoned bicycle new life as a water fountain.

Walter Cronkite’s Coverage of Woodstock

Two friends and I drove down from Montreal to see the concert. Unfortunately the traffic was so bad we couldn't get anywhere near the site so we turned around and drove home and missed the best concert of all time. If I had it to do over I would have walked the five miles.

Via  Holy Kaw!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Engravings from a French Ice-Skating Manual (1813)

Coloured engravings from France’s first ice-skating manual Le Vrai Patineur (The True Skater) written by Jean Garcin, a book praised in Honore de Balzac’s Illusions Perdues.

Link Via The Public Domain Review

Really Old Ostrich Egg Globe

Image credit Washington Map Society

What may be the oldest globe to depict the New World is engraved on two conjoined halves of ostrich eggs.
The grapefruit sized egg, dated 1504, is labeled in Latin and includes territories such as Japan, Brazil and Arabia. North America is depicted as a group of scattered islands. The globe’s lone sentence, above the coast of Southeast Asia, is “Hic Sunt Dracones” (Here Be Dragons).
The Austrian owner bought the egg map in 2012 at the London Map Fair.

More at The Washington Post
Via Gadling

Natural Born Tourists

 Vineyard Haven was as charming as your listing promised. It’s also wonderful that you’ve been able to preserve your home’s antebellum charm, especially the mattresses which appear original to the property, complete with traumatic-birth stains. Maybe mention those next time, too.—Kathy Homer, Windsor, Conn.
Would you want to stay in a place where someone had written the above guest comment? Me neither. What do you do when the holiday rental you looked forward to turns out to be a hole? Do you just suck it up? The Homer family has found that commenting ill is the best revenge.
It's a satire but I found it inspiring.

More at The Morning News

Moving Sidewalk in Paris 1900

Today we take moving sidewalks for granted but in 1900 le trottoir roulant was one of the most famous marvels at the Universal Exposition.

The Paris trottoir was a two-mile-long, electric, three-tiered sidewalk. One trackway was stationary, the next moved at two-and-a-half miles per hour, the third at five miles her hour. The moving boardwalk moved bodies to see the grounds from new points of view at new speeds of movement. And the walkway itself was an exhibit, as patrons could sit and watch fellow fair-goers mechanically stroll.
This film of the sidewalk is credited to Thomas Edison:

Via  Parisian Fields

Monday, August 19, 2013

We Think Alone

I'm subscribed to We Think Alone - A project by Miranda July which means I'm receiving 20 e-mails over 20 weeks from the Sent Mail folders of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lena Dunham, Kirsten Dunst, Sheila Heti, Etgar Keret, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Catherine Opie, Lee Smolin, Danh Vo.

Today I received emails that had art attached. Some weeks the emails have been less interesting but I'm intrigued by the project. Read more about it here.

Here's today's email from Canadian author Sheila Heti (all emails were written prior to the start of the project).

From: Sheila Heti
Date: Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 8:04 PM
To: Margaux Williamson

do you know this painting of manet's?

i love it. but i can't find the right colours on the web for it.
? it's calledBranche de pivoine blanche

The History of LEGO

Last year the LEGO Group celebrated its 80th Birthday spotlighting the life of its founder Ole Kirk Christiansen and his son Godtfred. Here's a look back at the history of the company that makes the iconic toy brick:

An Exciting Discovery in William Morris's Red House

It began as an attempt to restore one blurry image that had been hidden for a century behind a large built-in wardrobe on William Morris's bedroom wall.
Photograph: Linda Nylind

From 1860 -1865 William Morris, the founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement lived at Red House, sometimes described as "the most beautiful house in the world", now owned by Britain's National Trust. Conservation work on an area behind a cupboard has revealed an entire wall  painting.

The mural is believed to be the joint work of famous pre-Raphaelite artists Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his wife Elizabeth Siddal, Ford Madox Brown and Morris. It depicts Biblical characters: the figures of Adam and Eve (with the serpent), Noah (holding a miniature ark), Rachel and Jacob (with a ladder) and is designed to resemble a hanging tapestry with the illusion of folds.

I've always wanted to visit Red House. I will definitely take the trip next time I'm in London.

More at this link and The Guardian

Bitchy the Hawk

Bitchy, a 13 year old Harris hawk, may be the hardest working bird in the GTA. Tethered to a perch at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre other Toronto venues she intimidates seagulls and other nuisance birds and keeps them from snatching snacks away from fans at soccer games and concerts.

It's a lucrative gig for Bitchy. She keeps her salary secret but it is estimated that she makes about $100 per hour. At the end of her shift her handler, Rob Wernaart, takes her home to his large acreage near Milton where she was recently joined by a young Harris hawk named Xena.

More photos of Bitchy on the job by Steve Russell - Staff Photographer - @RussellPhotos at  Toronto Star Photo Blog

Sunday, August 18, 2013

BenclifDesigns Vintage Lighting

Rodger Thomas prevents vintage objects from becoming obsolete by giving them a new life as whimsical lighting.
Blow Torch Table Lamp

Table Lamp Upcycled Vintage Percolator Lamp
Lawn sprinkler lighting

See more imaginative lighting at BenclifDesigns on Etsy

Via Neatorama