Never Forget

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

From Patricia Morrison's recollections of the 911 attack in the post WTC RIP:
I forced myself up to the roof again that night to look, and unless you live here and know how it is, you cannot imagine how strange it is not to see them there, those giant towers. I’ve seen them there as long as I’ve lived here as an adult in the city where I was born; I watched them in all weathers, as people in hill country watch their hills. I saw them go up, and now I’ve seen them come down. And all that was there that night was evil glowing smoke.

But except for that first night, I had not yet been able to look at where they stood. In my East Village neighborhood the towers were omnipresent; you’d look downtown on First or Second or Third Avenues and there they were, looming over the low-rise buildings between, mountains standing tall behind a range of foothills, somehow making the other building around them look not smaller but taller themselves.

And yet I knew that I had to look, that I dishonored the people who died there and even, in some strange way, the towers themselves, by not being able to look.

So yesterday, Sunday September sixteenth, I went out for an immense walk. I went up to a park near my home, passing a hospital whose walls are covered with photos of the lost, and praying as I passed, then took a bus to the Hudson River side of town. I got off at Abingdon Square, walked the couple of blocks to the river edge, and just started walking south, as far as I could get.

And I MADE myself look, every step of the way. At where the towers were, at where they now were not. At the flame and smoke still pouring out of their graves, and the graves of those who died there, as out of the throat of a volcano.

They’re not there. They’re not there. They will never be there again. After a while your eyes start playing tricks and you think you see their ghosts rising up through the smoke. But they’re not there.

I'll be off-line for a bit

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Not that, considering my flakey posting schedule, anybody would notice, but I'll be off-line for a while. I'm having outpatient surgery and I'll need to recuperate.

Nothing serious, but you never know -- mistakes do happen. My only hope is that, should I be the victim of a surgical miscalculation, -- say an accidental head transplant like above for example -- is that I not be stuck with the noggin of a soy boy on my left shoulder.

Excellent summary of the Kavanaugh hearings

Saturday, September 08, 2018

None Of Us Are Free

Friday, September 07, 2018

Get ready for an abolitionist weekend with Solomon Burke
and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

McKinley smiled and extended his hand...

Thursday, September 06, 2018
Leon Czolgosz in custody

On this day in 1901 the anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinated President William McKinley. From History's The Assassination of President William McKinley:
Despite the sweltering late-summer heat, a long line of people waited outside the Temple of Music when the reception began at 4 p.m. As the theater’s organist played a Bach sonata, the visitors slowly filed inside, many of them eager for a chance to meet the president and shake his hand. Near the front of the line stood 28-year-old Leon Czolgosz, a shy and brooding former steel worker. An avowed anarchist, Czolgosz had arrived in Buffalo only a few days earlier and purchased a .32 caliber Iver Johnson revolver—the same type of weapon that another anarchist had used to assassinate the Italian King Umberto I the previous summer. He now waited with the gun wrapped in a white handkerchief and concealed inside his jacket pocket. “It was in my heart; there was no escape for me,” Czolgosz later said. “All those people seemed bowing to the great ruler. I made up my mind to kill that ruler.”

McKinley’s anxious staff had added police and soldiers to his usual complement of Secret Service agents, but the security detail took little notice of Czolgosz as he strode up to the president at around 4:07 p.m. When McKinley smiled and extended his hand, Czolgosz raised his pistol—still wrapped in its white handkerchief—and fired two shots at point blank range. 
The above picture is of Czolgosz in Buffalo's jail. He did not repent his crime, saying in his confession, “I don’t believe in the Republican form of government, and I don’t believe we should have any rulers. It is right to kill them.”

Justice was swift. Czolgosz was tried, found guilty and sentenced to death in short order. He was executed by electric chair on October 29th of the same year as the assassination.

Taste testing WWII combat rations

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

In these videos a fellow by the name of Steve opens and samples WWII combat rations. Not sure I would be that pleased to munch on a 70 year old cracker, but he seems to quite enjoy the experience. I must say that his enthusiasm -- and possibly the stuff he is eating -- is infectious.

There are more videos, including ration packs from different countries and eras at his YouTube channel Steve1989MREInfo.

Labor? What's that?

Monday, September 03, 2018

I'm retired so's my days of laboring for the man, water-cooler gossip, punch clocks and tedious office politics are behind me. Still, a holiday is a holiday so here's hoping all you worker bees have a good Labor Day.

By the way -- I have no idea what Buster Keaton has to do with any of this.

1950's minimal California

Saturday, September 01, 2018
Click any image to enlage
These are the photographs of Marvin Rand, a mid 20th Century photographer who specialized in architectural photography. He did a wonderful job of catching the clean and simply lines of the design sensibilities of the time. Found at Flashbak's Marvin Rand’s Gorgeous Photos of California Modern where there are more examples of his work.

She Drives Me Crazy

Friday, August 31, 2018

Get ready for a beserk weekend with BeKy.

Appalachian molasses stir-off

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Old movie posters about dope fiends

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
Recently U.S. States hither and yon are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. These are posters of exploitation flicks during the prohibition years of the drug. Under the guise of a dire warning they were stuffed full of wild parties, fallen women and much debauchery brought on by the use of the whacky tobacky.

There are more of these posters and a history of marijuana's prohibition at the post Anti-Reefer Film Posters and Why Marijuana is Outlawed.

Walking in Katmandu

Monday, August 27, 2018

A couple walk through Katmandu headed to Durbar Square. As they mention, there is a lot of beeping by the vehicles. Also, the subtitles they added were a nice touch.

Deception and reality

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra 

Manjusri, a bodhisattva should regard all living beings as a wise man
Regards the reflection of the moon in water,
As magicians regard men created by magic.
As being like a face in a mirror,
like the water of a mirage;
like the sound of an echo;
like a mass of clouds in the sky;
like the appearance and disappearance of a bubble of water;
like the core of a plantain tree;
like a flash of lightning;
like the appearance of matter in an immaterial realm;
like a sprout from a rotten seed;
like tortoise-hair coat;
like the fun of games for one who wishes to die...

Deep Down Low

Friday, August 24, 2018

Get ready for a hallucinogenic weekend with Valentino Khan.

Japanese Noodle Warriors

Thursday, August 23, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
This post pretty much exists for no other purpose than for me to use that title for it. Anyway, these are the work of the Japanese artist Taishi Arimura. From the Spoon and Tamago post where I found these images:
Arimura sculpts the food samples into the bodies of warriors. He then meticulously carves up the Styrofoam packaging of popular instant noodles – in this case, Nissin’s Cup Noodle and Donbei – to create the armor, which he adheres to the noodles. The final touch is either a fork or chopsticks as weapon and the warriors look like they’re ready for battle.

A rubber band refrigerator

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

In above video Ben Krasnow builds a refrigerator using rubber bands as the cooling element. Of course it doesn't provide a lot of cooling, but a thermal imagining camera shows that it does slightly lower the temperature of the chamber. Ben explains the physics behind it all.

Ben's YouTube channel, Applied Science, is well worth a visit. he has a lot of fascinating projects, including a DIY scanning electron microscope, that are all pretty amazing.

When are they bringing these babies back?

Monday, August 20, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
In this new age of neo-Puritanism with many, many sins to punish -- misidentifying one of the 1200 genders, illegal plastic straw possession, microaggressions out the wazoo and so forth -- social media mobs and twitter raging certainly have there places. Still, they lack a certain immediacy in their shaming.

Consider the advantages that old-timey pillories provided. Not only the public humiliation, but the opportunity to mock sinners to their faces, and even to chuck rotten fruit at them, add nice personal touches for SJWs.

Course if pillories do come back in style then sooner or later, and probably sooner, I'll end up in one. Ah well, in the words of Parsons from 1984, "Of course I'm guilty! You don't think the Party would arrest an innocent man, do you?" I guess I'll just have to face my punishment from my betters.

At any rate, enjoy these few pictures of pillories as you ponder what awaits you.

Touring the South Pole station

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Above is a video of a woman giving a tour of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station. My previous knowledge of Antarctic stations came from repeated viewings of John Carpenter's The Thing so suffice it be said I was surprised by how large and, well... how institutional it looked.

I also wondered how much effort it took to build the place. Below are two videos, which are long in run time, showing the early efforts to plant the station and then the work to build the newer station we toured above. All in all, a pretty amazing engineering feat considering the environment it was done in.

Missionary Man

Friday, August 17, 2018

Get ready for a watchful weekend with Hatune MikuV3 and Megurine Luka.

Aviation Week magazine covers

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
Here, and after the jump are a number of covers of Aviation Week which, depending on the date, is  also known as Aviation and Aviation Weekly and Space Technology. They are from the Internet Archives Aviation Week section where you can view more covers as well as browse the magazines interiors as well.

Casting an equestrian statue

Saturday, August 11, 2018

This video uses animated etchings from the period to show the 15 year process of designing, casting and installing a monumental statue of Louis XV of France. Altogether it used 30 tons of brass. It was destroyed during the French Revolution.



Friday, August 10, 2018

Get ready for a reimagined weekend with Matt Mulholland covering the Rebecca Black classic.

Sparrow Mart

Thursday, August 09, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
Sparrow Mart is an art installation created by Lucy Sparrow and housed in L.A.'s Standard Hotel. It is a replica of a 1980's American style supermarket. The replica goods and products are made of felt and can be purchased. It will be open until the end of August 2018, so if you're in the L.A. area and want to see it you still have time.

From the Colossal article Lucy Sparrow’s ’80s Style Supermarket Offers 31,000 Handmade Felt Items:
The retro shop has all the familiar selections of American comforts, including a videotape rental section with ’80s classics like Footloose, Dirty Dancing, and Short Circuit. She also has fresh hand-sewn seafood on ice, sushi, fruits and vegetables, a variety of meat cuts and other animal products, popular snacks, canned goods, cereals, candies, sodas, liquor and cleaning products. Each item is meticulously cloned from felt, a material that evokes childhood and play. The fact that the store offers 27 different types of sushi (each produced in 300 pieces), plus chopsticks, wasabi, pickled ginger, and even soy sauce packed inside iconic plastic fish containers, says a great deal about the amount of detail and determination that went into creating this overwhelming installation. Working alone until very recently, the artist ended up hiring four full-time assistants in her studio and outsourcing fifteen professionals to complete this immersive project.

The naked ones in the forest

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Above is a short documentary about the isolated Mascho Piro tribe in Peru's Amazon jungle region.

The Mascho Piro are hunter gathers who are increasingly coming in contact with the outside world. The villagers they are encountering, and sometimes attacking with deadly force, are Christians. Some of the villagers are also descendants of the Mascho Piro. Regardless of blood ties, they consider the Mascho Piro as brethren who are living a sad life in the jungle and should be brought into the folds of civilization.

Acting as a buffer between the two are the Protection Agents. They're concerned about the effects of contact on the Mascho Piro, particularly exposure to disease and the realization that, were the Mascho Piro absorbed into civilization, they would end up on the bottom rung of society -- the "poorest of the poor" -- as they struggle to adjust.

It is a complex and tragic situation. In their desire for machetes and iron pots the Mascho Piro have no idea what they are walking into. That said, in these situations I always wonder about the logic of keeping such groups of people artificially isolated. What purpose does it really serve? Aren't they already the "poorest of the poor" with short life spans and high infant mortality among the negatives? How much of this desire to isolate is more for the vanity of the anthropologists then the benefit of the Mascho Piro and, more importantly, their descendants? I don't know.

For a related post see He gave us lollies.

Avoiding insult

Saturday, August 04, 2018

If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War. ― George Washington

Ain't No Grave

Friday, August 03, 2018

Get ready for a revived weekend with Jamie Wilson.

The new Neo

Thursday, August 02, 2018
Neoneocon has a new site, and a new name -- Neo. I've updated the link to her site. I've also added ScrappleFace to the 'Blogs of Interest' section.

I imagine I am also going to have to update this site eventually. The background tiles and graphics are hosted at the templating company's website, and I expect they'll pull the plug on them eventually.

Starting a Model T

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The first playground slide

Saturday, July 28, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
In the early 20th century Charles Wicksteed owned a company that made drills, saws and gearboxes. In 1921, to celebrate the end of WWI, he took pipes from his factory and used them to build swings in a park in Kettering, England.

A year later he introduced the world's first playground slide to the park. It stood 12 feet tall and featured polished boards that could be slid down.

Wicksteed's playgrounds were a success, and he spun off a company Wicksteed Playscapes to design and build playgrounds. That company is still in business, easily making it the oldest company in the world dedicated to creating playgrounds. In the words of Charles Wicksteed:
I came to the conclusion the great mistake so many private benefactors and public bodies make is this: they lay out a beautiful Park to sit in, and look at, but they do not realise that the people want more than this, they want something doing. And those who cannot play themselves, enjoy looking at those who can. The Play Ground should not be put in a corner behind railings, but in a conspicuous and beautiful part of a Park, free to all, where people can enjoy the play and charming scenery at the same time; where mothers can sit, while they are looking on and caring for their children.

My Play Ground is not confined to boys or girls, or old or young, it is open to all. I have seen a dozen women of forty years of age on the Plank Swing together, and enjoying it as much as the children. I have also seen old ladies of 80 go down the slides. It is a good thing to have plenty of variety and then no one tires.

I used to be told how boys abused everything and what a disgraceful thing it was for two men to swing together on the same swing. So I made up my mind it would be far easier for me, as an engineer, to make the Playthings so strong that they could not be broken, rather than try to reform the users. In this I have succeeded without disturbing the delicate balance, so that the youngest child alone can operate any of the playthings.

Charles Wicksteed

Found via La Boite Verte.

We Gotta Get Out of This Place

Friday, July 27, 2018

Get ready for an escapist weekend with Dan Auerbach.

Visualizing dinosaurs

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
These pictures, and those after the jump, are old drawings of what paleontologists used to think dinosaurs looked like. They tended to be pictured as being dull colored and very lizard like. Today it is believed that they were much more colorful and active. In fact, fossils are now yielding some information on just what those colors were.

The article How do we know what dinosaurs looked like? discusses the evolution of how dinosaurs were pictured through the years. From that article:
When ancient people were faced with strange bones, they did exactly what we do today, and used the best knowledge available to reconstruct the creatures that left them behind. Sometimes this resulted in poor conclusions. The first name assigned in print to any dinosaur remains was the ignominious title of Scrotum humanum – a label given by British physician Richard Brookes to the broken end of a femur in 1763, believing it to be the fossilised testicles of a Biblical giant.

We now know that the leg bone belonged to a Megalosaurus – correctly described as an extinct reptile by William Buckland in 1824. You can’t entirely blame Brookes for his conclusions, as dinosaurs would not be described as a group until 1842. That was when Richard Owen, head of what is now the Natural History Museum, revealed to the world a new class of strange, extinct creatures he called dinosaurs, meaning ‘fearfully great reptiles’. He imagined Iguanodon, Megalosaurus and Hylaeosaurus to be reptiles with legs sprawled out to the sides, with scaly grey or green skin: something like modern lizards or crocodiles.

In 1854 artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins created life-sized sculptures of these animals as directed by Owen, and you can still see these on display in Crystal Palace Park in south London. Visit them and you will see they look very different to how we depict dinosaurs today.

Over time, we have come to completely revise our understanding of the appearance of dinosaurs, and much of this began with the description of another American dromaeosaur called Deinonychus in the 1960s. John Ostrom at Yale University made the revolutionary suggestion that this species was a bird-like, fast, warm-blooded pack hunter, and so began the ‘dinosaur renaissance’ of the 1960s and 70s. Ostrom championed the idea that birds were dinosaurs, and was spectacularly vindicated when Sinosauropteryx, the first known feathered dinosaur, was found in China in 1996.

The ugly side of ice cream

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Above is a video of a restored 1944 Dairy Queen ice cream making machine. The behind the scenes machinery of making ice cream is certainly grittier than a brightly lit and colorful ice cream parlor.

Wish You Were Here

Friday, July 20, 2018

Get ready for a wistful weekend with Cody Jinks.

He gave us lollies

Monday, July 16, 2018

Nyuju 'Stumpy' Brown was an aboriginal artist from northern Australia. She grew up living in a hunter/gatherer lifestyle and didn't encounter white people until she was a teen. From the video:
"The first time I saw an airplane was down near the stock route. It landed near us. We thought the white people might kill us. We were frightened of the white people so we hid in a wattle tree."
Below are some of her paintings.

Click any image to enlarge

Dereliction of Duty

Saturday, July 14, 2018
The Bad Shepherd by Jan Brueghel the Younger
There is a point at which the law becomes immoral and unethical. That point is reached when it becomes a cloak for the cowardice that dares not stand up against blatant violations of justice. -- Kurt Huber

Bullet With Butterfly Wings

Friday, July 13, 2018

Get ready for a self-centered and cranky weekend with Frida Snell.

I want to see this movie

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Above is a review of Night Wars. It appears to be a cinematic tour de force of the first order. Particularly impressive are the scenes where, while sleeping with loaded guns, the protagonists return to Vietnam in their dreams to participate in fire fights.

If you just want to see the sleep fights, and they are a sight to behold, you can go to time stamps 6:00 and 9:12.

Walking in Yangon

Monday, July 09, 2018

Time for yet another random walking around video. This one is through the streets of Yangon, Myanmar.

While there is no such thing as a connoisseur of walking videos, I've watched enough of them to begin to spot differences in them. In this one I particularly like his camera work. While usually the camera in these things just point ahead, he tends to focus on points of interest, sometimes even turning as he passes them. A nice touch.  

You Can Never Go Home Again

Friday, July 06, 2018

Get ready for a oddball fusion weekend with Gangstagrass.

Happy 4th of july

Wednesday, July 04, 2018
Uncle Sam - It's all right! There's no fighting! The noise you hear is just my family celebrating!

The illustration is from 1902. It is hard to read, but the kids in the picture are labeled: Philippines, Hawaii, North, Porto Rico, South, Mass., Texas, New York and Alaska, with the black boy bearing no label. The concerned looking lady in the white robes is Peace.

Enjoy the 4th all.  

Drawings of jellyfish

Sunday, July 01, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
Ernst Haeckel was a 19th century German biologist. After the untimely death of his young wife he became fascinated by jellyfish (medusae). Their ethereal and fragile beauty touched a chord in his sorrow. 

These samples of his illustrations are from Public Domain Review. There are more after the jump.