Friday, December 31, 2021

Dinner For One



My friend Alan Parker suggested this to me,

RIP Betty White


Heading into 2022

via everlasting blort

New Year's Resolutions 1914

– Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, quoted in the Butler Weekly Times, January 1, 1914

Upcoming isolation-inspired theatre productions

Wrong Hands


Via everlasting blort

The Piano Has Been Drinking

We've decided to play it safe this year and this means staying home this New Year's Eve instead of the usual celebration with friends. The upside is no hangover tomorrow.

The piano has been drinking, my necktie is asleep
And the combo went back to new york, the jukebox has to take a leak
And the carpet needs a haircut, and the spotlight looks like a prison break
And the telephone's out of cigarettes, and the balcony is on the make
And the piano has been drinking, not me…

Thursday, December 30, 2021

 Sent to me by my son who noted that this woman is making me look bad,

Self Driving Cars, Yay or Nay?

If I could be convinced to ride in one of these I'd have my finger poised on the emergency stop button. This video was sponsored by Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car project)

Extraordinary Biscuit Designs

Design historian, author, and artist Ella Hawkins will biscuify almost anything! Previously I posted her sweet tasting Tiffany glass biscuits and a very special patchwork quilt. She's also created biscuits inspired by ancient Greek pottery sherds in the collections of the Ashmolean Museum in England:

Below are illuminated manuscript biscuits inspired by various museum collections:

See more of her beautiful creations here

via MeFi

Claywood Is A Home Designed For Accessibility

British architecture studio Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt has built a wheelchair friendly home that embraces contemporary architecture. The experience proved so eye-opening that the firm plans to take a more accessible approach to other projects in future.
"Whilst the house incorporates a lot of specialist items and automation, much of the design was simply about ensuring things are in the right places and set at appropriate heights," explained Gaunt.
Read more: dezeen

2021 in 6 Minutes

2021 has taken us on a wild ride and many of us will be glad to see the back of it. Here are some of the emotional highlights from the past year:


Building a Tiny Tower House from Concrete

In this video OUROBOROS ARQ builds a miniature house using using the same materials and construction methods that would be used on a full-scale one.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

RIP Jonco

Last night I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a post on Jonco's timeline that looked like an obituary titled 'End of an Era'. I couldn't believe what I was reading - I'd just teased him on Facebook the day before - and I had to read it again. The post was from his family telling his readers that he had passed away unexpectedly. Jonco started his Bits & Pieces blog in 2002 and over the years we combed the same blogger neighbourhood for links and frequently ran into each other online. He was a great guy, friendly, funny as hell and a lover of dogs. He gave the gift of laughter to scores of readers every day and we will miss him very much. My heart goes out to his family on the sudden loss of their dear husband and father. It is indeed the end of an era.

Butterflies Emerging From Their Chrysalis

A lovely slow motion time-lapse video of tropical butterflies at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Living Conservatory.

Via Cultura Inquieta

Why Doesn't Europe Build More Skyscrapers?

The downtown cores of most cities in Asia and North America are composed of soulless concrete canyons while Europe has relatively few skyscrapers. I prefer walkable cities with appealing landscapes, wide sidewalks, grand boulevards and human-scale living environments. However it's hard for large cities to ignore the siren call of modernization.


Read More: Open Culture


How to make salmon sushi

This brilliant stop motion video by animator I Like Home shows how to turn salmon into sushi using Lego bricks instead of fish. He even adds garnishes!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

I began to feel unsafe driving a sedan because taller vehicles on the road blocked my view of potential hazards ahead.

Look at the size of this tuba!

This Titanic tuba has been with Carl Fischer Music since about 1900 and is a real conversation starter. It might be a little difficult hauling it around to gigs.

Via MetaFilter


This award winning film,written and directed by Koya Kamura, tells the story of Murai who returns to the no-go zone two years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster,  to spend time with Jun, his eight-year-old son. It's very touching.

Welcome To Mouseland

New One

I love these meeces to pieces! MousesHouses is an adorable blog created by children's book author and illustrator Maggie Rudy where little felt mice inhabit fantastical settings.

Spread the word, not the virus! This free printable poster is available in 35 here!

Monday, December 27, 2021


Spike The Potato

New Year's Eve is coming and those darts aren't going to make themselves. Time to get cracking!

Caution: Make sure your guests fire their cones at the swinging tuber in an orderly fashion (preferably before they've taken on a bellyful of beer). You wouldn't want someone to take an eye out!

(Previously posted here in 2010 but this game is begging for a revival)

This Donkey Likes Its Christmas Gift

This sweet little donkey loves to play ball.

Via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Reindeer Cyclone

A drone captures amazing footage of reindeer running in a circular pattern. This defense strategy protects them against predators who have difficulty picking out a single animal from the churning swarm.


The Insane Engineering of James Webb Telescope

Thirty years of planning went into this project and it is a remarkable achievement.



Sunday, December 26, 2021


Via Memo Of The Air

St Stephen's Day Murders

Saint Stephen, considered the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death on this day in 36 AD. Here in Canada it is a day for shopping the sales and gorging on leftovers. 

RIP Desmond Tutu


Music For Sunday Morning


Frozen Niagara Falls (1883)

 See more photos here

Sunday Links

Tim Flach's Beautiful Bird Photos (above)

Busy Simulator lets you feign importance with repeating app sounds!

Would this house cure my fear of heights or make it worse?

Best Northern Lights Photos of 2021 (via everlasting blort)

 Tis the season for ham sniffing (via Strange Company)

This is cool: Reshape Paris (via Things Magazine)

It's been a tough year. Some of these images are very moving: The Year 2021 In Pictures (Thanks Bruce!) 

TYWKIWDBI's first letter to Santa Adorable.

The most brilliantly bilious book reviews of 2021 Jonathan Franzen's new novel is next up for me but I am a little leery after reading this review: "Crossroads is far from the novel that America needs; unfortunately, it is exactly the one it deserves.”

I wear a black patch  over my left eye. It has aroused the curiosity of many; no one has suspected the horror that it hides.

Photos of Joan Didion in the 1960s and1970s

December 21 was Crossword Puzzle Day and I missed it! The World's First Crossword Puzzle was by Arthur Wynne, published in The New York World on December 21, 1913. Can you solve it?

Spaghetti got a purple sweater for Christmas Sweet!

 Holiday Hero Cats of Old New York  (via Strange Company)

Did you know Samuel Beckett used to drive André the Giant to school? I didn't.

Apparently face mask handbags are a thing. I'm serious.

The Tragically Human End of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

A little dynamo: Edith Piaf singing "Milord" on the Ed Sullivan Show (via Facebook pal Hal)

The Rabbit Dreams of Dr. Freud's Niece A wonderful book by an author whose life came to a very sad and early end (via everlasting blort)

Adorable pups in PJs visit children in hospital (via Miss Cellania)

The Zeche (Coal Mine Industrial Complex) Zollverein closed in 1986. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Link

Hula-Hooping Making a habit of it.

The American Precision Museum (Thanks Bruce)

Saturday, December 25, 2021


Dear Satan

In this animated Christmas short by Anomaly London a typo makes a big difference.

Merry Christmas. Here's a Fox.


The Dead

John Huston's The Dead is my favourite Christmas movie. 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Smurf-like Dogs


Earlier this year pictures of stray blue dogs in the city of Dzerzhinsk, Russia went viral. It was widely reported that the discolouration was caused by the animals rolling in chemicals at an abandoned factory. 
Snopes investigated and found no evidence showing that the dogs’ coats turned blue as a result of chemical exposure, or whether it was the result of a prank gone awry.
But the story had a happy ending as animal rights activists were able to find new homes for the Smurf dogs.

Read more: Vice 
(Thanks Bruce!)

SantaLand Diaries

This essay was my introduction to the work of David Sedaris and I've read everything he's written since. It's a touchingly twisted monologue about his work as Crumpet the Elf at Macy's Department Store during the Christmas season. 

Communist Kittens Wish You A Merry Christmas

'Cos there's a red star up on the Christmas tree 
A hammer for you, and a sickle for me 
Good will to all men, let's celebrate 
 By purging the enemies of the state


 (I first posted this way back in 2010)

Christmas Wrapping

Slow down. It's Christmas. Relax.

The Wexford Carol

From the programme "ANÚNA : A Whisper of Paradise". 
Solo Voice Aisling McGlynn

Thursday, December 23, 2021


Office Christmas Party (1925)

December 1925. "Washington, D.C. - Western Electric Co. group." National Photo Company glass negative.

Via Shorpy 

The Construction of the Empire State Building in Colour

This footage of the Empire State Building’s construction gathers clips from contemporary newsreels and other sources and presents them in “restored, enhanced and colourized” form.

Read More: Open Culture

The Late Great Joe Strummer

Left us 19 years ago yesterday


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

A Heart-Felt Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

An adorable needle-felted Christmas video directed by illustrator  Phoebe Wahl and  stop-motion animator Andrea Love with vocals by Ingrid Michaelson and Zooey Deschanel.

Mini Gingerbread House Mug Toppers

A friend of mine made these sweet gingerbread houses that sit on the edge of your cup. They don't look too difficult but they require a steady hand and quite a bit of time. I don't know if I'll get around to it this Christmas but I'd like to give it a try.


Song For A Winter's Night


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Banksy had a special drop of t-shirts in Bristol to support the Colston 4 ahead of their trial next week.

Gene Krupa & Ethel Smith on Hammond Organ 1945

If you want a relaxing evening at home don't listen to this. It is meant for frenzied dancing.

Visit the Originals

Bolmen is a beautiful lake in Sweden. It is also the name of a cheap IKEA toilet brush.  IKEA products Toftan, Ektorp, Voxnan, Hemsjö and Kallax are also named after scenic Swedish locales. Visit Sweden wants you to come see them.

Via Perfect for Roquefort Cheese

Happy Noir Christmas: The Bloody Olive

Short film directed by Vincent Bal in 1996, based on a comic strip by Lewis Trondheim. (English subtitles)

Winter Solstice At The Dowth Megalithic Passage Tomb

Dowth Monument in Ireland is aligned to the setting sun of the winter solstice. The  sun illuminates the passage and chamber about 3pm on the days around the winter solstice. The beam travels first over the sill stone, then enters the chamber and finally shines directly onto the stones at the back of the chamber. The rays then recede slowly along the right side of the passage and after about two hours the sun withdraws.

The Coldest Night Of The Year (Toronto)

Invincible Summer

Sunlight from the Mediterranean
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. - Albert Camus
The paintings of Jean Pierson evoke those warm summer feelings today, the longest night of the year.

The blackboard

The husking of the peas

Monday, December 20, 2021

It's a tough job but somebody has to do it.

Via my friend Alan who informs us that only about 60 cats were used in the shoot with the rest computer-generated. Can you imagine wrangling 60 cats?

Migrants: A Short Film About Polar Bears

Two polar bears are driven into exile due to global warming.


A Cunning Wee Pig Porn Charm

Via Everlasting Blort 

Christmas at Moose Factory

Christmas at Moose Factory, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Christmas Song

 I'm not a big fan of most Christmas tunes but I like this oldie by Danish indie rock duo, the Raveonettes.


 Snowstorm is another wintry song they put out last year

Dave Cooks The Turkey

Canadian radio broadcaster Stewart McLean passed away in 2017 and I still miss him. Fortunately we can still listen to episodes of his show The Vinyl Cafe. This one is a favourite of mine.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sunday Links

Weighing approximately 1,500 kg (more than 3,300 pounds), the 23 foot wide snowflake made by Ingo Maurer in 2005 for UNICEF’s annual Snowflake Ball is still the largest crystal snowflake made to date.

What time is it? It's Literature O'Clock 

Toffs and Toughs -The sad story of a photo that illustrates the class divide in Britain, 1937 

The 50 Best Bars In the World I imagine a round in any of them would cost a pretty penny.

London lamp-post art: homemade notices people display in their windows and the protest stickers attached to every available surface along the pavement.

These Christmas Tree Cocktails might be a little too festive for my liking.

Magical miniature worlds The therapeutic benefits of terrariums have proven to be a particular attraction in the recent lockdowns. (Thanks Bruce)

When I was a kid I watched a lot of old movies on tv with my grandmother. A lot of them featured classy characters drinking exotic cocktails and champagne in swanky lounges. I thought that I would do the same when I grew up but I ended up drinking draft beer and cheap wine in dive bars. Vintage Postcards of Mid-Century American Cocktail Lounges  (via Memo Of The Air)

The 78 Best Documentaries of All Time I've seen 17 of these and I enjoyed all of them. Lots more to watch. (Thanks Bruce!)

A cult Christmas classic: Beatnik's Wish (via Everlasting Blort)

If you don't want to see a seagull eating a rat don't look at this

The turkey is too big for the oven! Your niece is suddenly vegan! How to survive the 12 disasters of Christmas 

Dinosaur, Colorado (thanks Bruce)

Did the Chrome Hearts Family Forget They Owned a Townhouse? I wonder if I might have a $14m property that I've forgotten about…

A great big load of awesome: Guns N Helmets  (via Memo Of The Air)


Music For Sunday Morning

via everlasting blort 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Bringing 110-Year-Old Photos to Life Using AI

French photographer and filmmaker Mathieu Stern scanned, restored, colorized, and animated two glass plate negatives from 1910 with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

See more: PetaPixel

Songs of Disappearance

Created by BirdLife Australia, an album made up entirely of the tweets of endangered Australian birds has debuted in the top five of the country's music charts.

via TMN

Thursday, December 16, 2021

A Storefront Made From Champagne Bottles

Architecture studio MVRDV created this glittery jade-coloured facade for the Bulgari Shanghai store using recycled champagne and beer bottles.

Dinner For Horses (1918)

From Facebook friend Simon Alexander Besteman:

Dinner For Horses

Free Feed at Haymarket on Day Before Christmas

Arrangements have been completed for the Christmas dinner for horses to be given by the Washington Animal Rescue League at Twelfth and Little B streets northwest on Tuesday, the day before Christmas. The Haymarket space has been devoted to the equine holiday, and there will be a tree loaded with such delicacies as hay, corn, carrots, and apples. Each horse will get a substantial feed of oats. The drivers will be served with free hot coffee, and there will be music. - Washington Post, Dec 22, 1918

American Diners - Armand Montagard


Somewhere in New Mexico.

Arnaud Montagard, a French photographer based in NYC, drove thousands of miles from South Dakota to Louisiana, Pennsylvania to California  to capture images of American Diners before they vanished. His photographs bring to mind the work of American realist painters like Edward Hopper.

A vanilla shake and the check please.

The Battle of San Romano

 Georges Schwizgebel's masterful animation of a nearly 600 year old piece of art.

How To Use A Comma

via swissmiss 

Kiss Of The Oceans


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Every Ad Removed From Times Square

via DasKraftfuttermischwerk

The Arrow Always Points Right

Because you like a good illusion.

Devised bt Meiji Institute mathematician Kokichi Sugihara

This 1949 Toaster Is Better Than Yours

Many years ago I had a friend who owned one of these. It was a very good toaster and the expensive toasters I have bought over the years can't hold a candle to it.


Modernist Gingerbread Dreamhouse

I love this California modernist gingerbread house designed by Kelly Wearstler.

Paris Mon Amour

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Recycling Electronic Waste


Thanks Bruce!

A Cable Car Ride Through 1960s San Francisco




Rare sighting of the giant ghost jellyfish

Its scientific name is Stygiomedusa Gigantea, but it is better known as a giant ghost jellyfish because its tentacles can reach up to 10 meters in length.

Posture Pals

Who will be the king, queen, prince and princess of posture? Their chances of being cool are ruined for life.

via  Perfect for Roquefort Cheese
Dion and Paul Simon singing "Song For Sam Cooke (Here In America)"

Le Cochon Danseur (1907)

In the original black and white silent film, produced by Pathé Frères, a grotesque pig in gentleman's clothing interrupts a young woman's picnic. The girl rips off his clothes and makes him dance. The film has now been restored and colourized by Lobster Films. I can't decide whether it is more creepy in colour.

See more: Open Culture

Monday, December 13, 2021

Window to the World

Live streams from around the world in a window frame, controlled by moving a magnetic plane around a world map.

Read this!


Via Memo Of The Air

Which Glass Suits Which Wine

Sommelier André Hueston Mack explains how the glass used for a specific wine  affects our experience. (Personally I'm content to drink any wine out of a Duralex Picardie juice glass)  

 Thanks Bruce!

Sunday, December 12, 2021


You can compete with your neighbour on Christmas decorations — or you can play along with them.  

Chris Boechler and Mandie Scrivens worked together to put up a simple 'ditto' display in response to their neighbour's elaborate Christmas decorations. (Don Somers/CBC)


Olivia Colman is fabulous. I can hardly wait to see this.

Sunday Links

The Old Boathouse, Alexandra Park by Robert Littleford (above)

Don't know what to buy that special someone for Christmas? You can never go wrong with a cozy sweater.

Retro cool. Betamaxmas takes you back to your parents basement to watch all the holiday television of the 1980's from news to Ninja Turtles. (via Perfect for Roquefort Cheese)

Sherlockian authority Leslie S. Klinger's interesting notation on Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1893 story “The Adventure of the Reigate Squire".

Would you like a vintage-looking car with a modern drivetrain? Of course you would! This Chinese Carmaker Is Building Cars From Alternate History (via Memo Of The Air)

Peter Sagal's 10 Rules of Twitter (each was learned by violating it repeatedly over the years)

From Ayn Rand to The Village People: The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time (I posted this in 2004 and it's still funny)

Earth's Black Box will record scientific data to give future civilizations insight on how exactly humanity fell.

We Eat at The Worst Michelin Starred Restaurant, Ever "Another course – a citrus foam – was served in a plaster cast of the chef’s mouth. Absent utensils, we were told to lick it out of the chef’s mouth in a scene that I’m pretty sure was stolen from an eastern European horror film."

The Fab Four interpreted by black artists: Black Beatles: R&B Covers 1963-1972 

Instagram account of the day: Surreal Practitioner (Thanks Bruce!)

The invention of the Christmas Cracker 

Word of the Year Shortlist: Dignity suit, menty-b, porch pirate, wokescold and more… (via Perfect for Roquefort Cheese)

46 of the Most Beautiful Streets in the World I was surprised to see how many of these I've walked along over the years.

Is this weird or what? Lick Your Cat

In 1970 Amerika, a U.S. government Cold War propaganda publication, hired photographer David Attie to shoot photos of a new TV show for kids. The recently discovered photos are part of a new book called The Unseen Photos of Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street, the official companion book to a feature-length documentary of the same name. (Thanks Bruce)

The peculiar fad for Little Switzerlands where the Romantic sublime meets countryside kitsch.

Take a soothing trip down the river: Islands of the St. Lawrence (1919)