Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year and Sweet Dreams

I'm not sure what this video has to do with the end of 2016 and/or the start of 2017; but it strikes me you can't go wrong with banjo music for either occasion. So, Happy New Year wishes delivered with the accompaniment of Banjo Guy Ollie covering Sweet Dream (Are Made Of This).

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Photos From the Age of Sail

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 The end of the Age of Sail and the beginnings of photography overlap. These pictures, and those after the fold, are a sampling of photos of those old sailing ships. I hope to dig up more pictures of the crews for a following post, but for now these wiill have to do.

An Old Flares Contributer Needs Some Help

Charles Martin, one of  the original founders of Flares Into Darkness, who now posts to PJ Media, has had some health and employment issues. He has ended up broke as a result.

He has started a gofundme campaign to raise a bit of money to help him get back on his feet. If you have a bit of spare money laying about please contribute, he's a good guy.

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Different Christmas Song

Above is a video by Mbuvi, a Kenyan gospel singer. It is a Christmas song.  It revolves around the Kenyan tradition of returning home to family and friends to celebrate Christmas. I figure that, after a month of Jingle Bells in the background, it is a change. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ghosts of Christmases Past

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“Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded. 
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”  
“Long Past?” inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature.  
“No. Your past.”  
Perhaps, Scrooge could not have told anybody why, if anybody could have asked him; but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap; and begged him to be covered.  
“What!” exclaimed the Ghost, “would you so soon put out, with worldly hands, the light I give? Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap, and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow!”  
Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend or any knowledge of having wilfully “bonneted” the Spirit at any period of his life. He then made bold to inquire what business brought him there. 
“Your welfare!” said the Ghost.
-from The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

We all have our past Christmases with their own ghosts. Here, and after the fold, are some ghosts of unknown people's Christmases. Whether these ghosts bring welfare or not is another matter altogether.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Flowers Inside of Light Bulbs

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 From the 1930s through the 1970s the Aerolux Light Corporation made a series of novelty light bulbs that featured filaments in the form of tiny sculptures. Along with animals and other subjects, flowers were popular.

View more of these bulbs, including some videos of them, at Colossal.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Next Nefarious Rooskie Plot

My CIA sources tell me -- and yes, I have unimpeachable spy agency sources so this aint fake news -- they tell me that, after hacking the US election to make Trump President, they now plan on moving on to step two of their Eeeeevil scheme: brainwashing American tweener girls via commie boy bands.

Above is a sample of one of their highly polished and professional boy bands Steklovata, singing their smash hit Novi God. Parents, don't leave your daughters fall under the hypnotic spell of these lads. It's a trap I tells ya, a trap.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Moths & Butterflies Drawn by Naturalists

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 Prior to photography all scientific illustrations were drawn or painted. On the roster of all scientific expeditions was the artist. Here, and below the fold, are some of those old drawings of moths and butterflies. While some of the drawing are just listings of different moths or butterflies, frequently the illustrations show the plants they feed off, and the various stages of the insect's development.

From the Smithsonian Libraries Collection.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Variations on Making Tortillas

Making tortillas in the Mixteca Region, Oaxaca:

Making tortillas in a modern kitchen:

Making tortillas by machine:

Friday, December 09, 2016

Top Secret Military Info Leaked

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 Julian Assange isn't the only one with inside links to leaks. I too have my sources. In fact, my well placed sources have revealed to me the following shocking top secret military news!

With Calexit gaining strength California's decision makers have realized they'll be needing their own military to guard their borders, march in parades, invade Arizona, and what-not. With that in mind they've started producing their own military hardware and are training the cadre of their new army. Above is a picture of a California tank unit practicing blitzkrieg tactics.

By the way... is it my imagination, or is the fellow commanding the tank familiar looking? You can enlarge the image to see him better.

Saturday, December 03, 2016


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In 1665 Fortunio Liceti published an illustrated edition of his work De Monstris. Supposedly a work exploring deformities in nature, as you can see from the illustrations his monsters were quite fanciful. Not that it really explains his made-up monsters, he explained it as nature being like an artist that worked with what it had. As he said, "It is said that I see the convergence of both Nature and art because one or the other not being able to make what they want, they at least make what they can."

From The Public Domain Review. There are more images below the fold.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Newest News Cycle

The eight steps of the newest news cycle:

1. - There is an attack, using a gun, knife, car, etc., against multiple people in a public space.
2 - I think to myself, "Crap. The Mohammedans are at it again."
3 - Officials warn me not to jump to conclusions about the nature of the attacker.
4 - The media speculates it may be the work of a right-wing gun nut.
5 - It turns out that the attackers name is Mohamed, Abdul, Faisal, etc.
6 - They are reported to have yelled, "Allahu Akbar" while attacking.
7 - The news media puzzles over what their motives could have been.
8 - My cynicism, disgust and frustration deepen.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Miss Ridgid

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Back in the day, in spaces where men stored tools -- workshops, garages, etc. -- they also hung cheesecake calendars provided by vendors. One of the most classic of those calendars was the Ridgid Tools calendar, featuring the Miss Rigid of the month.

When I was old enough to notice cheesecake, the Miss Ridgids were models (Raquel Welch was a Miss Rigid), but before that they were illustrated. On this page, and below the fold, are some of those older illustrated cheesecake girls. Enjoy.

By the way, as for their current calendar Rigid Tools states, "The 2017 Calendar is not a pin-up style calendar. Instead you’ll find mantras chosen by tradespeople like you and unique artwork designed by tattoo artists and illustrators." Bleh.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Angry Thanksgiving

For those unlucky enough to have political zealots on both sides of the aisle, well ... enjoy them screaming at each other while you munch on your turkey this year. Remember -- patience is a virtue. For those with civil relatives, count that as another thing to be thankful for.

At any rate -- Happy Thanksgiving all.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I don't think that's going to work

Below are a couple of quotes pulled from the Washington Post article Keith Ellison, Howard Dean offered as possible DNC chairs as Democrats seek to regroup.

Sanders said the reasons for Clinton’s loss were “fairly obvious” and cited two factors: lower turnout by the Democratic base and the Republican nominee’s far greater appeal to white, working-class voters, which Sanders dubbed “a humiliation for the Democratic Party.”

“White working-class people are deserting the party in droves,” Sanders said.


In an interview, Sanders said he is lobbying for (Keith) Ellison (for the position of DNC Party Chairman) and argued that the DNC needs to be reoriented so that it becomes less of an insiders' club “preoccupied” with raising money and more of an advocate for the concerns of the working class.

Really, the Democrats think the working class whites in fly-over country are craving the likes of Keith Ellison to return them to the fold?
There is a Scene at the end of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure where the two time-traveling high schoolers have brought back historical figures for the final project of their history class. They are on a stage giving a presentation, part of which is Napoleon standing in front of a table with a map of Europe on it. On the map Napoleon has little toy soldiers arrayed in preparation for the invasion of Russia.

Bill (or was it Ted?) wanders over, looks at it and says, "no offense dude, but I don't think that's going to work."
Seems like an appropriate response to Keith Ellison as the Great White Hope.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lopsided Democracy

Below is an old post of mine, originally put up on July 4th of 2010. In light of the election it seems relevant. Indeed, "People will come together and cry: enough! ". Only it wasn't in fond nostalgia of the wise old elite, instead it was a lot of people who resented being called simpletons for their opinions. Anyway, the election brought this song and post to mind...

Above is the song Dimonkransa sung by Myra Andrade of the Cape Verde Islands. Cape Verde received their independence from Portugal on July 5th, 1975. The liberation movement was led by the socialist African Party of Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). Andrade's father was a member of it, and in fact she was born in Cuba.

Upon independence Cape Verde was a single party government, but in 1990 at a party congress the PAICV approved the introduction of multiparty democracy. In the election that followed the opposition fared well, and Cape Verde has evolved into a stable multi-party democracy.

However, this is not a post about her politics, nor the sort of third world socialism that bubbles through the undeveloped world. It seems to me there is a deeper strata, a bedrock so to speak, which lies under the languid melancholy of her lyrics.

It was said that democracy,
Lopsided democracy,
It was said that democracy
Was like a hidden treasure,
But now that it has been found.
We have all opened our eyes
And each one, relying on his judgment,
Confidently declared that what was round was in fact square,
And went to work, with a great many theories,
To prove that he was right.

(lyrics from the version she sung on her first album Navega)

Andrade is ill at ease with democracy, but for social rather than political reasons. Early in the song she calls it 'lopsided democracy' and as its lyrics unfold her complaint is that each person, not matter how foolish they are (and she clearly thinks many if not most of them are fools), now express a cacophony of opinions and arguments that bury the truth. 

She ends the song singing of English businessman and listing names from Cape Verde's past, some who have been elevated and some who she fears are being forgotten, and expresses distress at this reordering of authority. 

Stripped to its bone, the song is about a lost elite. Andrade is expressing nostalgia for a short-lived one party rule and for an escape from European domination. Of course it is her party that should rule and she now makes her home in Paris. Perhaps it is she that is lopsided, rather than all of the happy fools she mocks?

The time will come when old Náxu’s opinions
Will not be held in higher esteem than those of a babe in arms.
People will come together and cry: enough!

Americans forget how revolutionary we are. Jefferson's "all men are created equal..." is both intoxicating and destructive. It is a hell of a thing not to have to step into the gutter to clear the side walk for a swaggering aristocrat. Andrade is intimidated by and dismissive of people who have opened their eyes, and each one, relied on their own judgment, but a free man knows better.

As for coming together and crying "enough"? That is exactly what our 4th of July celebrates and we'll have our Gadsden flags mingled with the Stars and Stripes. Happy 4th of July to you all.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Then I awake and look around me

Jerry had a teenage girlfriend too. However, the times being what they were, he ended up marrying her instead of sending text messages. There were consequences for Jerry over that.

There have been consequences for Anthony as well. A hard drive full of more than penis pictures. Emails that most certainly talk about other topics than yoga and wedding plans.  Those other emails must be coming and so a CYA letter is dispatched.

Hopefully, the excuses and evasions will be too little and too late.. Instead of Mary, it will be Billy running down that path. Hey, a fella can dream, can't he?

Friday, September 30, 2016

Railroad trains as progress

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These days trains are mundane things. My encounter with them is when I sit at a crossing watchiing the Juice Train go by.I think little of the technology of them,, instead noticing how the graffiti artists are careful not to paint over logos or the identifying numbers of the cars. It must be an unwritten rule.

At one time trains were new and on the fore front of transportation. They were iconic. As these old railroad posters show,  in their day the trains' modern lines, power and the exotic locations they could carry one to were emphasized.

There are more posters after the fold.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

More Housekeeping

The center sidebar with the links in it blew up today, so I am having to rebuild it. I know some people use this site primarily as a link aggregator, so I want to get them back. It is a bit tedious of a process -- I'm going back to the Internet Wayback Machine to look at archived Flare's pages to find what all the links I had were.

They should all be back in a day or two.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

An odd competition

Nope, not the debate, although it would qualify. Rather, this post is a video featuring Christina Aguilera vs The Andrews Sisters.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A matter of perspective

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A common genre of internet click-bait is Perfectly Timed Photos. The above example of that genre entertained me because, depending on which photographer you are, it is either perfectly timed or looking completely in the wrong direction altogether.

Well, sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Never Forget

Can I see another's woe, and not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief, and not seek for kind relief?

William Blake

Monday, February 22, 2016