Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year

Click to enlarge
These kids seem to be too old to be New Year Babies and too young to be drinking Champaign, but whatever. Anyway, adios 2018 and welcome 2019. Hope you all have a good one.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Dancing Flappers

I tried to find actual footage of flappers dancing, but the film quality was too bad. So I went with this scene, which is from the 1956 movie Don't Knock the Rock. In that movie Rock n' Roll has been banned by the town geezers because it is too wild and suggestive, so the kids put on a show where we see that, via the dances of their youth, the geezers weren't above being wild and suggestive themselves.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Flames of passion

Click image to enlarge
Yea, The Roses Are Still On Fire - Mathilde Blind

Yea, the roses are still on fire
With the bygone heat of July,
Though the least little wind drifting by
Shake a rose-leaf or two from the brier,
Be it never so soft a sigh.

Ember of love still glows and lingers
Deep at the red heart's smouldering core;
With the sudden passionate throb of yore
We shook as our eyes and clinging fingers
Met once only to meet no more.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas PUNK

Yikes! I hope you were all good boys and girls this year because, if the above picture is accurate, it appears that Santa may be packing heat instead of charcoal. I guess he's watched one too many Dirty Harry movies in the off-season.

Anyway... Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays all. Have a good one.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A few Brazilian Christmas songs

By this time I figure people have about had their fill of Christmas carols and music, so I try to dig up some different songs. In the past I've done goofy Japanese Christmas songs, but this year I headed to Brazil to find inspiration and a few tunes. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

You want better looking Christmas decorations?

Picture from Matthew Trudeau's Photography flickr stream
It's easy to do, just say enough to that sentimental White Christmas garbage, get rid of all that ghastly snow and hang your lights from palm trees overlooking the ocean and beach. Simple. And, it gets you in the yuletide spirit faster than anything.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A gift for the hipster on your Christmas shopping list

Click any image to enlarge
Yea, it is probably a little sacrilegious for some, but we are talking about appealing to hipsters here. Aside from craft beer, thrift shops and artisanal this and that, what do hipsters want for Chistmas? I'm sure an updated nativity scene with cellphones, man buns and Amazon prime shipments is just the ticket to warm the heart of the hipster in your life!

Plus, as their ad copy says, "each set is hand-crafted and hand-painted by a real-life hipster". Well, that seals the deal for sure. You can get them at Gorilla Goodies Hipster Nativity Set page.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Getting into the Holiday spirit

It's that time of the year to get into the Holiday spirit, and to do that there is no finer method than watching and listening to the Norwegian hit Christmas song Kilde min Dingeling, ska' du! by Ørkenens Sønner. At least I think it is Norwegian, and I'm just guessing it is a smash hit because what else could it be?

I'm not sure what the bedroom scene with band members dressed up like Santa and Ms Claus is all about. To be honest, I would rather not dwell too much on its meaning.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The timber getters

A previous post, Harvesting redwood trees, showed a video of lumberjacks at work before the advent of the chainsaw. Above is a video from the same period showing timber getters, the Australian equivalent of lumberjacks, at work. There is also detail about the little camps set up where the wives and kids could live nearby the worksite along with the workers themselves.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Belousov-Zhabotinsky Oscillating Reactions

Above is a video showing a Belousov-Zhabotinsky oscillating reaction. An oscillating reaction occurs when parts of the solution periodically change, this leads to the solution not being in equilibrium thermodynamically, which is not normally what is expected. My chemistry knowledge is pretty sketchy so take my explanation with a grain of salt. Follow the previous link for a better explanation.

Below is a video which shows a fellow going through the steps of creating a Belousov-Zhabotinsky oscillating reaction. It also sheds light on what it is all about.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Jigsaw puzzle montages

Click any image to enlarge
Jigsaw puzzle makers often use the same die to cut out different puzzles. The artist Tom Klein takes advantage of that to mix puzzle pieces and create strange montages. These are just a few of his works, there are many more at his website.

Found via My Modern Met.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Rich Girl vs Poor Girl

Ah, what would we do without the internet and YouTube. Not to be shallow, but I actually wonder if the fact that her 'poor girl' was sitting down and covering her legs didn't influence the number of donations she got. Regardless, what sort of a dunce gives an obviously well-off girl who is panhandling any money in the first place?

Friday, December 07, 2018

The Day of Infamy -- a wife's worries

Below is a letter written by Beth Slingerland on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. Her husband john was at the base and she wrote the letter describing what she saw of the attack as well as her fears for her husbands safety. The letter is from the Smithsonian digital archives and I discovered her story, and the images used in this post at Eyewitness to a "Day of Infamy": Commemorating Pearl Harbor which also has more details about the couple. The formatting is mine.
Dearest Mother and Dad,

How can I write at such a time? I have to do something because I can see the smoke pouring up into the air from Pearl Harbor and the sound of the guns and the bombs bursting in the water right before us keeps me in such a nervous state that I must do something. John is at Pearl Harbor. He left early this morning because he was supposed to go today – they have been rushing so. I know they have hit places there because I see so much, much smoke.   
The guns began some time ago but I thought they were our own usual gun fire. Then I just got nervous and went out to take a better look to discover all the smoke and just then great spouts of water began rising out of the ocean –two of which were right in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The great spouts rose all about some of our battle ships and I thought that very strange to be firing so close even for practice. I just knew something was wrong so I turned on the radio just in time to hear that we were under attack by “the Enemy”.  
All I can think of is John down there where they are attackin[.]  How do people face bravely the fact that their husbands are in places where they may be killed any day and I can’t get any news, of course, and I do not know how long it will be before I shall know anything. I love him so I can’t look into the future without him.

Later in the morning.

Another attack came and I watched it. My only comfort is being up here where I can see so much. Eight Japanese planes flew over the house on to Waikiki and out to sea. Their big red circles showed up so plainly. Lots of planes were high and the anti-aircraft tracer bullets are all over Pearl Harbor. The forts directly below us are quiet as to gun fire for the attack seems to be directed at Pearl Harbor and probably at Schoffield [Schofield] Barracks. I can see our ships guarding the entrance to the Honolulu Harbor. At times the bombs fall about these ships. Right now things are more quiet but I can still feel the jar of the big guns.  The radio gives us directions and what reports they can every few minutes. We are ordered to stay off the streets and not to use the telephone at all. All emergency units have been called together[.]   
We are urged to keep radios on and to stay calm. I feel much better in hand than I did. Strange as it may seem, I am not afraid to be here – only I am sick inside at the thought of what John is experiencing and praying all the time that he is experiencing something.  It is very, very windy and the clouds are traveling fast through the sky. Showers will come every few minutes in some sections of the island. But the smoke keeps rising from Pearl Harbor.  I wonder what you are hearing and I hope you won’t be too worried. I do not think that any bombs will fall around this house because they will not waste bombs on places of no strategic value. Were we living at Waikiki where forts are or near other forts and airports we would be in more danger.   
Orders have just come in every strong language to keep off the streets and to keep all cars off streets. The army is getting angry about people’s slowness to respond about cars. Ambulances have been called out – trucks, certain motor boat operators, auto drivers and various other units. All policeman and fireman are being mobilized and all officers in all branches of the government have been called together. Orders keep coming over the radio.. I write right on while I listen to them. One announcement just now said all Pearl Harbor Workers called out a little time ago need not come if they have not already gone. This does not apply to John because he left hours ago before any of this started. The Japanese maid is home with me. She and I sat beside each other on the lanai and watched the last attack.

Enemy airplanes have been shot down we have just been told. They call it a sporadic attack. From now on I suppose we shall stay in a state of emergency. Autos are to stay off the roads. I wonder how John will get home if he is allowed to come home.  I wonder if we shall have school and if we do what a lot of responsibilit each one of us must assume when we won’t know just what is going to happen. John and I will have to steel ourselves not to worry about each other because we may both have jobs to do that will keep us apart. I don’t plan to sit at home and take care of myself alone if things get out of hand and help is needed.

I can see lots of smoke in back of the big hangers at Hickom [Hickam] Field. The big hangers do not seem to be on fire. I have to climb up onto the back part of our yard to see that much. I can only see a little from the front. I can’t actually see Pearl Harbor because it sets too far back and part of a mountain slope cuts it off but I can see where it should be and where the smoke comes from.

10:30 Am

People are being told in no uncertain terms to drive cars up onto the lawns but to get off the streets.  All hardware and medical supply dealers are being ordered to their places of business. That sickens me.  Where I sit to write this I can look out all over the sea so I watch and write at the same time. No planes are in the sky right now. Lots of submarines seem to be going out. The sea looks rough.  The governor has declared us to be in a state of emergency which means the army issues the orders.  Injured are being taken to the Tripler Hospital now and certain doctors are being called for now. So many many doctors are being called! It frightens me. They must have such a lot of injured. They keep reading lists of doctors.   
What I thought were submarines seem to be cruisers and destroyers. The water is breaking high over them.  Now ammunition workers are being called up. Trucks are picking them up in designated places. All trucks and motorcycles are being called out.  I shall stop writing for awhile. I must find some work to do because all I think about is what is happening to John. I know our army and navy will handle things. We can’t lose. This will really unite people. I am so glad I am here. If I were on the mainland, I should go crazy being so far away from home.  All those Japanese planes that flew over the house came from in back of our house which means they came from the San Francisco side.  Now things are very quiet. There seems to be no life at all up here on our hill. I can see through the glasses that the streets are pretty well deserted. Only a few cars are moving. The report says everything is under control and that we are to continue to stay calm! I could be, if John were here.   
More enemy planes have come since I wrote last. They must have dropped incendiary bombs (They were real bombs) because big fires burst out below and are still raging with great flames shooting up into the air. What I cannot understand is why we do not see all our own planes. I hope Hickum [Hickam] Field was not too severly damaged. We hear planes and then we see the tracer smoke puffs of the anti aircraft being fired from Pearl Harbor. The smoke has lessened from down there.  All civilian workers have now been called to come to Pearl Harbor. They report that the roads are opened. So, even if John were home he would not be able to stay. However, he was there during the heavy attack and that is what is keeping me so keyed up.  Friends and neighbors up on this hill have come to ask me to stay with them but I cannot. I must stay here in case any word comes to me. I am too nervous to adjust myself to another household. Jane is here, so I shall not be alone. I have filled containers with water in case anything happens to the water. I have fixed flash lights for tonight because of course all will be blacked out from now on, I guess. We really are not prepared for that.

The radios are now off – orders from the army so we are getting no news whatsoever. I have not been able to do any work yet.  I can see many navy craft circling about all over the sea. Sometimes they cover themselves with smoke.  3PM  Still no real news only we are getting all kinds of rumors. I know nothing about John. Things seem fairly quiet but tonight things will not be so good possibly. We have seen no planes except Japanese planes and that is what bothers me. We have heard that the air fields have been pretty badly done up – both on this side of the island and on the other side of the island. A big Japanese fleet is supposed to be some miles off the island. Word came that some troops have landed. Also we have been told to store water so I have ever container I have filled. The bathtub is filled too.  People are so nice about coming in and wanting me to go home with them but I just cannot do it. I feel much better here. So I am going to stay home. John always wanted me to do that anyway because we feel our house is so much more comfortable in an emergency. We like our stoney basement.   
I wonder what you are hearing. You are probably dreadfully worried and wishing we were not over here. I do not feel that way. I cannot believe that such a thing as capture is possible – only I do not like the absence of our planes. We have not heard any guns for a long time. Our land guns have not gone into action – the ones at the forts in the city below. I can see three forts from here. But neither did any land guns fire at the Japanese planes that flew over and that bothers me. 

I have eaten some soup. I don’t feel hungry but I knew I should eat because I was beginning to feel faint. Now I feel better.  3:20 PM  Thank goodness – someone who just got in from Pearl Harbor telephoned me to say that John is all right and that he will come home tonight. He is to be allowed to leave at 7 tonight. Now I can really rest a while in peace. I can see, too that the fires are stopped down that way and there has not been any sound of guns for quite a spell. Nothing matters about tonight if he only gets home safely. That may be hard to do because everything will be blacked out.

4:20 PM

I am still breathing sighs of relief and the neighbors are all so glad too that John is safe. They have come over so often. The men on the hill are organizing to work in shifts tonight as watchers. They stopped by to tell me when they knew I was going to be alone. The caught some parachutists on St. Louis Heights so they will watch for that tonight and for incendiary bombs. I fixed up a little supply of things in case anything should happen that meant I would have to leave this house. Now I am so relieved to know John will be coming home. But I shall begin worrying again when he is due and it is dark and I shall be afraid he is having difficulty getting home in the dark. I am not afraid for myself and hav not been at any time, even if that sounds untrue. My eyes have never felt so dry and I could not have shed a tear to save my life.

Much love and more later --Beth
John and Beth Slingerland circa 1980

Ain't No Sunshine & Uzun İnce Bir Yoldayım

Get ready for an overcast weekend with Evrencan Gündüz.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

An elaborate trick shot

Watch as a fellow puts a ping pong ball into a plastic cup of water the hard way. I must say, this Rube Goldberg machine has some really clever and different stages.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Movie posters of old serials

Click any image to enlarge
I didn't realize they advertised serials, but thinking about it -- of course they did. These are posters for some of the series. For the most part the serials, which were played before the B feature were pretty silly (at least I think they were played before instead of after the B feature). If you look around you can find some of the old serials. In moderation they can be entertaining in their goofiness.

These are examples of posters promoting some of the serials. There are more after the jump, and even more at 100 Years of Movie Posters where I got these samples.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Friday, November 30, 2018

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Emergency! Emergency!

John Sell Cotman - Ruined House
I knew this day was coming. Flares uses a free template and some of the graphics files are hosted on another site. I knew that at some point those files might no longer be hosted there, and it looks like that day has arrived. Flares has lost some background tiles and/or styling.

Time to do some remodeling I guess. Please bear with the mess as I shift to a new template.

UPDATE 1: My first concern was how the older posts would render in a new layout. My posts use an image/embedded video on top, generally followed by some text and then more images as needed. Because a lot of Flares' traffic comes through searches I wanted to make sure the old posts didn't look ridiculous. This seems to work.

I also think some people come more for my links than my idiotic posts, so I've pushed the 'Blogs of Interest' and 'Recommended' links to the top of the right side bar. I'll eventually move some things on top of them, but I won't push them down too far.

UPDATE 2: I am happy with the right rail layout, but I do need to add a contact form to it. Now and again I do get emails from Flares visitors and I want to keep that possibility on the site.

I've dropped the "Yet Another Great Blog" tagline. Hated to do that since it is actually another name for Flares, but I am working on making the header less tall so I can pull up more of the blog content in the browser window. I added Social Media links to the post footer.

I've also started to fiddle with the styling a bit. I'll be tweaking it as I go on.

The mobile view bothers me because the links get lost. I need to try to figure out if I can fix that.

UPDATE 3: I've done a couple more tweaks to the styling and I believe I am done for now. I have to admit this has been about the laziest blog redesign I could have possibly done, but it seems to have worked out.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Equestrian statues

In the post Onward we stagger I suggested that the statue of William Darby on a motorcycle was essentially an equestrian statue, with the motorcycle replacing the horse. Here, and after the jump, are more conventional examples of equestrian statuary, with the rider mounted on a proper horse. Enjoy.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Black Friday stampedes

The weekend started yesterday, so there is no reason for my usual Friday music video to get you ready for it. Instead, in honor of Black Friday shopping lunacy I'm posting a couple of stampede videos.

The first (above) is from an idiotic movie called 10,000 BC. Who knew wholly mammoths were used in the construction of the pyramids? For that matter, who knew the pyramids used to look like that? At any rate, as part of a slave revolt a herd of silly looking CGI mammoths are stampeded down a ramp to stomp on soldiers and eeeeevil overseers. Quite an inspirational scene.

Below we head off to Skull Island where much better looking CGI dinosaurs stampede through some westerners on safari. For the amount of dinosaurs there are you would think more of the safari guys would get squashed, but whatever. Also, the predator dinosaurs seem to have a pretty stupid hunting strategy -- shouldn't they just pick off the weakling at the back of the herd instead of getting mixed up in the herd where they can get stomped on as well?

Any way, if you go shopping today have fun, but try to be neither the stomper nor the stompee.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Click image to enlarge
Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. – Edward Winslow

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Animatronic Ice Age Animals

If you're in need of some animatronic animals (and who isn't?) check out Peter Miao's YouTube feed for Zigong Dinosaurs World Science & Technology Co.,Ltd. Above is a video of some of their Ice Age animals sort of moving and roaring and what-not.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Onward we stagger

Click any image to enlarge
I guess this is a form of an equestrian statue, with the horse replaced by a motorcycle. it memorialized William Darby and is located in Fort Scott, Arkansas. Darby is the WWI officer who put together Darby's Raiders, the unit that eventually evolved into the U.S. Army Rangers.

Found via Roadside Wonders.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans Day

From the Army times article Nov. 11, 1918: Wasted Lives on Armistice Day:
On November 11, 1918, Armistice Day, the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front in France suffered more than thirty-five hundred casualties, although it had been known unofficially for two days that the fighting would end that day and known with absolute certainty as of 5 o’clock that morning that it would end at 11 a.m. Nearly a year afterward, on November 5, 1919, General John J. Pershing, commander of the AEF, found himself testifying on the efficiency of the war’s prosecution before the House of Representatives Committee on Military Affairs.

The encounter was amicable and respectful since members were dealing with the officer who had led America to victory in the Great War. However, a Republican committee member, Alvan T. Fuller of Massachusetts, deferentially posed a provocative query: ‘This question is somewhat irrelevant to the matter under discussion,’ Fuller began, ‘but I would like to ask General Pershing if American troops were ordered over the top on the other side on the morning of the day when under the terms of the Armistice firing was to cease … and that those troops who were not killed or wounded marched peacefully into Germany at 11 o’clock. Is that true?’

Pershing answered with his customary crisp confidence:

"When the subject of the armistice was under discussion we did not know what the purpose of it was definitely, whether it was something proposed by the German High Command to gain time or whether they were sincere in their desire to have an armistice; and the mere discussion of an armistice would not be sufficient grounds for any judicious commander to relax his military activities. … No one could possibly know when the armistice was to be signed, or what hour be fixed for the cessation of hostilities so that the only thing for us to do, and which I did as commander in chief of the American forces, and which Marshal Foch did as commander in chief of the Allied armies was to continue the military activities…"

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Harvesting redwood trees

Above is a film from the 1940s showing redwood trees being cut down, transported and processed at a lumber mill. Amazingly the old-timey lumberjacks fell the trees with only axes, saws and wedges making us modern folk look like little more than chainsaw dependent soyboys in comparison.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The catfish of DOOM

In 1855 an earthquake struck Tokyo causing considerable amounts of damage and killing 7,000 people. Popular legend held that giant catfish, who lived underground, caused earthquakes. After the 1855 earthquake a number of prints circulated with a catfish theme.

These few examples, and those after the jump, are from the Pink Tentacle post, Namazu-e: Earthquake catfish prints. At that link are many more examples of those prints as well as captions explaining each print.

There's a sudden void in my life

Anybody else feeling depressed and disoriented after the election? I mean, how will I ever survive without a deluge of campaign ads.

Man, no jazzy campaign commercials with smiling heroes to cheer me up, no voice messages on my answering machine telling me to vote 'yes' on proposition 3, my mailbox barren of slick flyers educating me as to what a criminal and cad the other fellow is sure to be. Nothing -- just campaigning silence.

I feel adrift. Whatever will I do with all my time now?

Monday, November 05, 2018

A song for the election

Well, it is a song about the wrong election, but whatever. Regardless, no matter how the vote goes there will be hysteria. Better to take it all in stride. Have a good one no matter what.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

5 days in a Mumbai slum

In the above video an incredibly cheerful Lithuanian fellow spends 5 days visiting and living in a Mumbai slum. It is a bit odd of a video to put it mildly. He pretty much ignores the slummy aspect of the slum in a slightly goofy euphoria over the people who live there. At least his heart is in the right place.

By the way, the comments to the video are interesting. Not all are so rosy as our Lithuanian friend and so they add a different perspective to what the video shows.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween

I researched inappropriate Halloween costumes on the web and am pretty sure the above image does not run afoul of any PC sins. Well, maybe a vegan would be offended, so maybe it's not OK. By the way the silliest costume no-no I saw mentioned was "This Sexy Convict costume could be interpreted as trivializing the US prison system." Mustn't offend the incarcerated I guess.

Anyway -- happy Halloween all,

Monday, October 29, 2018

Are Pringles potato chips?

I'm not all that familiar with the snack food Pringles. I've eaten them a few times and they seemed to be wonky tasting potato chips. For British taxing purposes, the question as to whether they were potato chips or something else altogether involved a lot of money. From the Mental Floss article The Question that Baffled Britain's High Court: Are Pringles Potato Chips?:
Are Pringles potato chips? From 2007 to 2009, that question plagued judges at three different levels of the British judiciary, leading to a series of head-scratchingly comical legal proceedings. The stakes, however, were nothing but serious: The ruling put hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.

The question revolved around Britain’s value-added tax, or VAT. According to the 1994 VAT Act, any product that is “wholly, or substantially wholly, made from the potato” was subject to a 17.5 percent tax. In 2007, Britain’s VAT and Duties Tribunal determined that Pringles fell under the tax’s umbrella—and demanded the chipman payeth.

Procter & Gamble, who owned Pringles at the time, vehemently disagreed. They argued that Pringles were only 42 percent potato flour, with the rest mostly a slurry of wheat starch, corn and rice flour, and vegetable oil. The snack food, they said, could not be classified as a potato chip because, unlike a real potato chip, its overall contents and shape were “not found in nature.”
The case ended up getting quite convoluted, with one court saying Pringles were more akin to cake or bread and later another deciding the did nit contain the required amount of "potatoness". With so much potential tax monies involved you can imagine  how long that sort of reasoning stood:
 After working itself in and out of semantic pretzels, the Court said the easiest solution to Chipgate was to appeal to a hypothetical child: If you asked an 8-year-old to explain what a Pringle was, what would he or she say? 
The question of a Pringle’s identity, the Court argued, “would probably be answered in a more relevant and sensible way by a child consumer than by a food scientist or a culinary pedant.” 
In other words, a chip is a chip is a chip—Pringles among them. With that, Procter & Gamble had to pay $160 million in taxes.
Seems odd that a hypothetical 8-year-old would settle the matter, but -- after all --- death and taxes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Intensely agitated over the matter

In 1894 the use, or misuse, of a Ouija board led to a lawsuit -- The State of Indiana vs. Eva Doty and Nora Doty. From Strange Company's Newspaper Clipping of the Day of Oct 24, 2018:
In a word, this Ouija has managed to wreck the peace of an idyllic Indiana village, a quaint and rural community numbering not more than a hundred families. It was brought into the village in all innocence by the Doty family, and the neighbours used to assemble after church of an evening and amuse themselves by asking it questions. It uttered some remarkable prophecies, and gave the rustics some sage advice about their private affairs, in which they had faith, notwithstanding that it set them all one day digging up the village green in search of a buried treasure. The girls of course made great use of it, and at last one night it said some very wicked things about Miss Eva Hollowell [sic], a village belle and a rival of the Doty girls in church-work and other accomplishments. This came to the ears of Miss Hollowell's father, a choleric man, and there was a row. The Dotys said they believed the Ouija, and Mr. Hollowell summoned them all to court, including the Ouija. The latter being produced as a witness, we are told, gave some samples of its work; but the verdict went for the plaintiff, and the Doty girls were fined five dollars apiece and costs. Mr. Hollowell, however, is too angry to be satisfied with this slight vengeance, and he is bringing the case to a higher court, where the Ouija will again appear in the witness-box. “The country hereabouts,” says the report, “is intensely agitated over the matter.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Casting an obsidian blade

Obsidian is a type of volcanic glass that was frequently used to make stone tools. Obsidian stone tools, which could be knives, scrapers, arrowheads or even fish hooks, were carefully formed by chipping off flakes from a piece of obsidian. It was time consuming, but obsidian is very durable and can hold an extremely sharp edge.

In the video above the tool maker takes a more modern approach -- he melts the obsidian and tries to cast the blade. I'll leave you decide whether his approach is progress or not.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Old bicycle ads

Click any image to enlarge
Bicycles have been around since Baron Karl von Drais's "Running Machine" built in 1817. It was just the frame, seat and 2 wheels and, since it lacked pedals, was more of an aid to running than what we would consider a modern bicycle. Many technical innovations -- pedals, chains, reliable brakes, steering, rubber and pneumatic tires to name a few -- had to be developed as the bicycle evolved to its modern form (bicycle history timeline).

The image of the bicycle has also evolved. In its early days it was a technological marvel of transportation. Eventually the automobile knocked it from that perch and it slid down to being primarily a kid's toy. However. at the same time racing and mountain bikes continued to be developed and they have since found an avid, albeit slightly annoying, following.

These are old vintage ads for bicycles. There are more after the jump and even more at La boite verte's  49 belles publicités anciennes pour des vélos.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Crowds - real and potential

Click image to enlarge

The crowd at the ball game - William Carlos Williams 

The crowd at the ball game
is moved uniformly

by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them—

all the exciting detail
of the chase

and the escape, the error
the flash of genius—

all to no end save beauty
the eternal—

So in detail they, the crowd,
are beautiful

for this
to be warned against

saluted and defied—
It is alive, venomous

it smiles grimly
its words cut—

The flashy female with her
mother, gets it—

The Jew gets it straight— it
is deadly, terrifying—

It is the Inquisition, the

It is beauty itself
that lives

day by day in them

This is
the power of their faces

It is summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is

cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail

permanently, seriously
without thought

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Thai street food

One of my favorite things about Asian cities are their street food vendors. These videos are taken from the YouTube channel Street Food Only which concentrates on Thai street foods.

Above is a walk through Chiang Rai night bazaar. Below is a stand that makes fish-shaped sweet pancakes and a market on the Thai/Myanmar border.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Robots on comic book covers

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Vintage robots are always pretty silly looking. This small samplings them on comic book covers. They are from the Flashbak post Programmed for Lameness: Awful Comic Book Covers Featuring Robots. There are many more examples at the link.

Leech therapy

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A quick update on my recovery: as regular visitors know I recently had an operation that has greatly slowed down my posting. The operation was a success and I'm coming along fine.

What primarily impacted my posting was the pain medicine. That, and erratic sleep, left me pretty drifty and unfocused. My pain medicine dosage has finally been reduced and I am feeling a lot more human. I expect to be back in business shortly.

By the way, the picture above is an engraving of a doctor prescribing leeches to a sick patient. Hmmm... I wonder if that would have sped up my recovery?

Friday, October 05, 2018

Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

I'm still around

I mentioned a while back that I was having some surgery and would be off-line while I recovered. The surgery went well. My recovery -- which consists of sitting in a lounge chair addled with painkillers and watching lousy TV shows is going OK as well.

Anyway, I figured I should tear myself away from the Bomba the Jungle Boy movie to let you know I survived and will resume my posting soon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Never Forget

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.