Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year

I like to think that these two young ladies are in a lifeboat that just escaped from the sinking wreck of the S.S. TwentyTwenty. Hopefully things will improve for them and us. Happy New Year all.


Wednesday, December 30, 2020


During the Cold War the soviets worked on a series of ground effects crafts, called ekranoplans, that were neither ship nor plane, but a hybrid between the two.  

Below, from La Boite Verte, are pictures of the Lu from both today and when it was active. It is a missile firing variant that was the last of the Soviet ekranoplans built.


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas

Nativity by He Qi

Let us keep Christmas beautiful without a thought of greed - Ann Garnett Schultz



I think I would rather get a lump of coal

A Christmas postcard with an illustration of Santa Claus attempting to put a frightened child into his sack of presents. An English legend popular during the Victorian era said that St. Nicholas recruited the Devil to help with his deliveries. Together, they determined which children had been naughty or nice.  - Missouri Historical Society (from Some of the Earliest Christmas Cards Were Morbid and Creepy)


Monday, December 21, 2020

Different Chistmas music

This time of the year I figure people are getting sick of hearing the same Christmas songs over and over, so I head over seas to find different Christmas music for a change of pace. This year, as is often the case with these alternate Christmas music posts, I headed to Japan to see what sort of insanity I could find.

The Japanese celebrate Christmas with all of the trappings -- Christmas trees, Santa, elfs, presents and what-not -- but it is a couples holiday to them, more akin to Valentines Day than anything. That's why in the song above (Christmas? What is that? Is it delicious?) they've changed the lyrics from 'jingle bells' to 'single hell' and the Crayon Pop song below is called Lonely Christmas.

Enjoy them as you go about your pre-Christmas routines and hopefully some of the more energetic ones don't induce seizures while you watch them. Oh, one more warning... you might get the phrase "a winter fairy is melting a snowman" stuck in your head for some odd reason. Just sayin' is all.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Reconstructing sound from a silent video

The technique uses the edges of objects in the video. The idea is they vibrate from the sound waves. The vibrations are too small to have the edges displaced in the pixel resolution of the video, but the edge pixels change in color tone as they vibrate. It is that variation that is tracked to recreate the sounds.

It is a fascinating technique that is actually quite creepy considering the slowly evolving surveillance state some desire. We don't need Big Brother surreptitiously listening as well as watching.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A visit to Longyearbyen

 A while back we visited Norilsk, Siberia, the northernmost city of 100,000 people or more. It was a rather grim looking town that existed because of the mining of nearby nickel deposits. Today we'll see the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen, a small settlement of less than 3,000 souls on the island of Svalbard. It is the northernmost town on Earth.

Like Norilsk, mining is its reason for existing, although it is coal, not nickel, that is mined. As you can see, it is also much better tended and maintained, and far more cheery looking, than its Russian counterpart. 


Monday, December 14, 2020

Valery Barykin's faux Soviet pin-ups

Click any image to enlarge

Valery Barykin is a contemporary Russian artist who blends the Soviet era propaganda poster style with Western pinup art from the same period. He says it was from his time in the Soviet Army when he was exposed to both Soviet propaganda posters and Western pin-ups. He blends the two, sometimes as a montage sometimes redrawn, to create his works. In fact, I recognize the one immediately below of the woman in a low cut blouse serving hotdogs as a piece of American art that he repainted.

The information and images are from a post at Все интересное в искусстве и не только (Everything is interesting in art and not only). It has more samples of his work. 

Valery Barykin

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Azerbaijan grilled fish with salad, bread and tea

The video starts with an Azerbaijani couple planting onions and garlic in their garden. They then move to the side of a river where they cook a meal of grilled fish over an open fire, accompanied by bread and a salad. The scenery is spectacular and there is sparse captioning naming the ingredients.


Friday, December 11, 2020

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Mary Michael Shelley's folk art

Click any image to enlarge

Mary Michael Shelley is an artist based out of Ithica New York. As she describes herself on her website:

I'm a folk artist, a painter and a wood carver. My artwork has been described as primitive, traditional, untrained, Americana, whimsical, naïve, eccentric, outsider, visionary or carved craft. I like describing myself as "self-taught", as in self-made, in the great American tradition.

I am best known for my carved folkart paintings of waitresses, diners, animals, cows, farms, sailboats, central New York regional themes, and special order commissions. I work out of my Ithaca, NY studio, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. I use art to explore and make sense of life events, dreams and emotions, sometimes calling my artwork a "picture diary" or "picture story" ... As an artist I serve up art, just as a waitress serves up food. My goal is to produce a quality piece of art that will survive and please long past my lifetime.

These images, and those after the jump, are from the portfolio on her website. Her pieces are reasonably priced and can be bought online. She also does commissioned works.  

Monday, December 07, 2020

The Day of Infamy

Above is amateur 8mm color film footage taken during the Pearl Harbor attack by Technical Sergeant Harold S. Oberg and his wife Eda. You can read a detailed account of their filming at the Warfare History Network's article Recording the Pearl Harbor Attack.


Saturday, December 05, 2020

Hunting for freedom

Work was always necessary to survive. Then I decided the goal should be to survive without working. But now I have much more work than I had before. Hunting for freedom, I've found the real prison. but at least it's a prison I've chosen for myself.  - Maurizio Cattelan


Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Adventure pulp covers

Click any image to enlarge

These are some old pulp magazine covers from the days when men were men and damsels were all too frequently in distress. These covers, and those after the jump, are from Magazine Art's Adventure Pulp archive. There are many more at the archive.