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Word Wednesday.

Vitrification

Noun.

1. The process or act of vitrifying or the state of being vitrified.

2. Something that is or has been vitrified.

Vitrify

Verb -fied; -fying

Transitive verb: to convert into glass or a glassy substance by heat and fusion.

Intransitive verb: to become vitrified.

Vitrifiable – adjective.

Vitrification – noun.

[Origin: Middle French vitrifier, from Latin vitrum glass.]

(1594)

“This is in fact a DEEP SEVEN cadaver, and appears to have undergone some sort of postmortem vitrification process, or perhaps a hibernation from which it failed to emerge, approximately seven million years ago.” – The Jennifer Morgue, Charles Stross.

Cool Stuff Friday.

the artist in front of “Tyrannosaurus” in Chiba prefecture (2016).

“Asura” in Akita prefecture (2015).

Toshihiko Hosaka began making sand sculptures in art school and has been using beaches and sand boxes as his canvas for almost 20 years. His work defies what we typically think of as sand art as he sculpts and carves the loose, granular substance as if it were some malleable form of clay.

There is no core, mold or adhesive ever used throughout the process: just sand. The only trick Hosaka uses (and this is commonly accepted) is a hardening spray applied to his sculpture only after it’s been completed, in order to prevent wind and sun from eroding it for a few days.

Looking at his work, you can hardly credit it, that’s it’s just sand, nothing more, because it’s truly amazing and intricate. He has done sculptures of Musashi Miyamoto, Godzilla, Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Asura, and a massive Kraken, among others. All the ones listed you can see at Spoon & Tamago, and be sure to visit Toshihiko Hosaka’s website!

An octopus sings about overfishing:

Overfishing Song from “Papa Cloudy’s Restaurant” from Studio Creature on Vimeo.

Artist Chuck Miller is fascinated with bodies, as many artists are, however, what fascinates Miller the most is fluidity and complexity of flesh. You can read and see more at The Creators Project.

Milena Ogrizovic beside Monument of the Fallen Fighters. Designer: Dajana Vasic.

Throughout the former Yugoslavia, mysterious and beautiful monuments dot the landscape, initiated by Yugoslav revolutionary Josef Broz Tito and designed by modernist architects. Increasingly forgotten, these brutalist concrete sculptures, which were public monuments to the country’s fallen soldiers of World War II, are revived in Serbian photographer Jovana Mladenovic‘s series Monumental Fear, which not only explores the former country’s triumph over fascism, but echoes the painful split that led to several Balkan states. Mladenovic’s series is also a tone poem meant to celebrate the creativity of the Serbian people, many of them artists facing uncertainty in the wake of the Brexit vote.

After studying photography at Belgrade’s University of Arts, Mladenovic moved to London to pursue her interest in fashion photography at the London College of Fashion. But she soon realized she was more interested in conceptual art and photography. Though she was happy to be in London, exploring avant-garde impulses, Mladenovic started thinking about her home country—specifically, its brutalist Yugoslavian communist monuments unveiled in the decades following World War II.

Fascinating and beautiful work. You can read and see more at The Creators Project.

And last, but certainly not least, Mr. Rogers!

Mr. Rogers is singing about how it’s ok to hug a pillow or pine after a teddy bear, and even though it seems like I’m too old for such things, I feel my stomach drop and I’m suddenly having trouble breathing. I feel like a kid again, and thanks to the 18-day Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood marathon currently streaming on Twitch, over 2 million people have already had the chance to feel the same. The Twitch stream is playing the entire Mister Rogers archive back-to-back in chronological order, including rare episodes that only aired once on terrestrial TV.

Twitch reached out to PBS with an idea for a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood revival in the lead up to the show’s 50th anniversary. They launched the marathon on May 15, partially thanks to the overwhelming response to marathons of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, and Julia Child’s The French Chef on the streaming platform. “We were excited to build on that momentum with this experimental initiative,” Lesli Rotenberg, a Senior Vice President at PBS, tells Creators.

You can read more about this at The Creators Project. The Twitch Mr. Roger’s Stream.

Word Wednesday.

Paraphernalia

Noun plural but singular or plural in construction.

1. The separate real or personal property of a married woman that she can dispose of by will and sometimes according to common law during her life.

2. Personal belongings.

3. a: Articles of equipment. b: Accessory items.

[Origin: Medieval Latin, ultimately from Greek parapherna, bride’s property beyond her dowry, from para + phernē dowry, from pherein to bear.]

(1651)

“Timothy Poe was not at 101 MacDougal Street, but a vast array of drug paraphernalia was. Unfortunately for him, it was more than enough to raise the eyebrows of even the most jaded of Mulvaney’s men: a stash of opium, a bottle of Bayer’s heroin, some cocaine toothdrops, and a dozen hypodermic needles of the type that had pricked Detective Marwin. Though it was not illegal to possess any of these items, it was frowned upon by polite society – and their discovery would do Poe no good.” – A Curtain Falls, Stefanie Pintoff.

Word Wednesday.

Impecunious

Adjective.

Having very little or no money, usually habitually: penniless.

– impecuniosity, noun.

– impecuniously, adverb.

– impecuniousness, noun.

[Origin: in – + obsolete, English pecunious, rich, from Middle English, from Latin pecuniosus, from pecunia, money.]

(1596)

So many conferees came down to the aisle to congratulate my choice of entertainment for the evening I felt overwhelmed. But academics enjoy nothing so much as a golden opportunity to feel superior, and in this case, impecunious and bedraggled professors could sail off having felt that they had bested wealth, beauty, stardom, and Hollywood itself.” – The Edith Wharton Murders, Lev Raphael.

Your Children Will Be Commies! Er, Wait, They’ll Be Transgendered Commies!

Oh, The Red Menace™! Ever present in my life. “America’s” biggest fear and greatest propaganda, the communists under the bed, oh my! Every single time I have thought that the whole fear of a commie had finally died off, it managed to appear again, ever a revenant. There was always a religious zealot or a bigoted conservative willing to reach into the closet and dust off the Red Bogeyman, conveniently updated with whatever was current or trending in culture for any given year. Today, I see absolutely nothing has changed. Seriously, all you bigoted, hateful, conservative Christian asswipes need to come up with a new shtick. The whole red menace thing is unbelievably old, and it’s now incredibly inaccurate, ennit? Really, at least try to keep up with the news, and please, not Fox.

Kevin Swanson has decided that the current Red Bogeyman is Transgendered Commies! Yes, that’s right. All children in public schools will be transformed into transgender commies, this is the new agenda™. I hadn’t received any agenda update, perhaps this one is only going out to idiots.

“The state has an agenda with your children,” he warned. “I realize that this may sound a little bit hyperbolic, it may sound [like] a little bit of an exaggeration—I don’t think it is, because I think if you begin to see the trajectory of where things have gone and you just draw it out for the next five, six, eight years, you’re going to find this is the agenda.”

“The goals of the educational program for your kids in the public schools,” Swanson continued, “the goals of the world for your children is that your kids be transgendered and communist by 20 years of age.”

“Of course this is the agenda,” he said. “Parents, just get serious about it. Do you want your kids transgendered and communist at 18 years of age? Is that your goal? If it isn’t, then maybe you ought to bring a different vision into the education of your children.”

Why yes, that does sound hyperbolic, Kevin. It also sounds downright moronic. You won’t be finding cis children wanting to be anything other than what they are, and you won’t find trans children wanting to be anything other than what they are. It’s quite simple, really. I do think you need to be a bit more specific about the whole transgender-communist connection, what exactly do you have in that department? How does the ever evil transagenda aid in creating more commies? I ask, because I don’t know if you have noticed, but trans people haven’t exactly had an easy time when it comes to being accepted, on both an individual and societal basis. I really don’t think this would be the communist plot of choice.

I remember when there was an attempt to paint The Beatles, and rock and pop music generally with the communist brush, but at least they had a veneer of a connection – mind control! Looseness, immorality, *gasp* sex! I am not getting the connection here. I think it will be a very long time before there are sufficient numbers of transgender commies to make up a conquering army, if that’s what you had in mind. Also, Kevin, make up your fucking mind, from one sentence to the next – are the kids going to turn evil when they are 20 years old, or 18 years old? Details matter, y’know. Also, it’s rather convenient you put the line at adult ages. I really think you ought to just stick with the immoral, godless commie thing. It’s worked for all these decades.

Via RWW.

Word Wednesday.

Ambit

Noun.

1. Circuit, compass.

2. The bounds or limits of a place or district.

3. A sphere of action, expression, or influence: scope.

[Origin: Middle English, from Latin ambitus, from ambire.]

(1597)

“And you do not?” Andso said, straightening. The captain was edging into blasphemy, and that, at least, was in the priest’s ambit. “Do you doubt the Bishopry, Captain?” – The God Engines, John Scalzi.

Word Wednesday.

Recondite

Adjective.

1. Hidden from sight: concealed.

2. Difficult or impossible for one of ordinary understanding or knowledge to comprehend: deep.

3: of, relating to, or dealing with something little known or obscure.

– reconditely, adverb.

– reconditeness, noun.

[Origin: Latin reconditus, past participle of recondere to conceal, from re– + condere to store up, from com– + –dere to put.]

(1649)

The Anarchist Cookbook, with its dangerously flawed bomb formulae, hasn’t maimed half so many hands as HPL’s mythos. His writings look more like fiction than allegorically-described recipes to most people, which is a good thing; but every so often a reader of his more recondite works becomes unhealthily obsessed with the idea of the starry wisdom behind it, starts thinking of it as something real, and then tries to reverse-engineer the design of the pipe bomb he’s describing, not realizing that Quality Control was not his strong point. – Equoid, Charles Stross.

Word Wednesday.

Götterdämmerung

Noun.

A collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder; broadly, downfall.

[Origin: German, literally, twilight of the gods, from Götter (plural of Gott god) + Dämmerung twilight.]

(1909)

“The story he could have summarized if he had to. There was no need to read those last five chapters. The First Heaven was about the world before there were people in it. No people, no animals, and no birds, only sea creatures and insects, the whole ruled over by gods and goddesses, some with well-known names, some invented, but all with an Old Testament flavor. These deities behaved like human beings in that they loved and hated, committed crimes and performed heroic deeds, but were apparently immortal and therefore could watch the process of evolution, the gradual change of the tiny swimming things into land creatures and flying creatures. As the millennia passed, the gods foresaw the appearance on earth of man by a process of evolution but were powerless to stop it, though they knew it would mean an end to their immortality. It would mean a Götterdämmerung.” – Not in the Flesh, Ruth Rendell.

The Problem of Prettifying Trump for Children’s Books.

Michael Ian Black and Marc Rosenthal, A Child’s First Book of Trump.

Unfortunately, when it comes to history, there’s a long, ugly history in the U.S. of lying to children. Books are filled with euphemisms and omissions, desperate to find any way to praise past politicians and their acts. This is quite the problem with presidential bios, going all the way back. People were considered courageous to mention that the oh so holy Saint Jefferson was a slaveholder. They omitted the rapes, subsequent pregnancies, and those inconvenient little slaves Jefferson fathered. You don’t find sections or books on just how genocidal presidents were when it came to Indians, or how they spent time and money on being devious bastards, making promises they fully intended to break. Nothing about the rapes, murders, and stealing of children, no. There’s very little action across uStates to undo all the whitewash. That much has not changed, but even in an industry well practiced in the art of whitewash, Trump is presenting special problems.

…Rosman catches the Scholastic folks red-handed as they rewrite history to try to prettify Trump for their audience. In a prepublication draft of the book, under the heading “Troubling Statements,” its authors initially explained: “Some of Trump’s biggest supporters were white nationalists. Their comments and actions during and after the campaign were racist and often dangerous. Trump did little to speak against them.” But in the final version, we get, instead, a page called “Campaign Statements,” which explains that, “Some of Trump’s critics felt he did not speak out against prejudicial people and groups strongly enough.”

[…]

The problem with Trump is not that he did not denounce the racism, much less the fact that some people might have felt this way. It’s that he actively encouraged not merely racism but a particularly violent strain of it; one that helped create an atmosphere of menace toward almost all people of color among his most virulent supporters. What’s more, this racism, according to the best data we can find, was central to his appeal both in the Republican primaries and in the general election. The fact that he is now president of the United States presents an additional ideological problem for children’s book publishers. Not only must they find a way around the fact that their subject is a racist, sexist, ethnocentric, McCarthyite, lying con man, but also that nearly half the country’s voters knew all this and picked him anyway.

To be honest about Trump is to be honest about America, and right now, that is just not the kind of thing children’s publishers are set up to do. It’s not even the kind of thing The New York Times or The Washington Post is set up to do — at least not without blaming “both sides” for whatever crime against democracy, decency or common sense Trump has most recently committed. Joana Costa Knufinke, group editor for nonfiction books in Scholastic’s library publishing division, uses this time-honored excuse when she explains to Rosman, “We make an effort to show both points of view.”

[…]

The challenge regarding Trump, however, is not that he has flaws, as men and all presidents do. The problem is that he is all flaws and that it was these flaws that got him elected president. Without those flaws — the racism, sexism, jingoism, dishonesty, incompetence, ignorance and belligerence — there is nothing left to say about Trump… except perhaps to make fun of his hair. This puts the nice people in the children’s book business in the uncomfortable position of either ignoring the new president or running interference of his destructive qualities and teaching our children to, at best, ignore them, or at worst, emulate them.

An incisive look at how the children’s publishing industry is going to be very busy orange-washing and filtering all information about the current unpresident of uStates. Highly recommended reading.

Full article here.

Word Wednesday.

Fantod

Noun.

1. Plural a. A state of irritability and tension. b. Fidgets.

2. An emotional outburst: fit.

[Origin: perhaps alteration of English dialect fantique, fanteeg, perhaps blend of fantastic and fatigue.]

(1839)

That damn creek water had given Grim a serious case of the howling fantods, and every bit of reason that he could cling to was welcome indeed.” – Hex (U.S. Version), Thomas Olde Heuvelt.

New York: Tuition Free 4 Year College!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says in New York we have rejected the politics of division.

New York will be the first state in the country to cover four-year college tuition for residents after the program was included in the budget package approved Sunday night.

The state’s Excelsior Scholarship program will be rolled out in tiers over the next three years, starting with full coverage of four-year college tuition this fall for students whose families make less than $100,000.

The income cap will increase to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019.

“With this budget, New York has the nation’s first accessible college program. It’s a different model,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo Saturday in a statement. “Today, college is what high school was—it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it.”

This is amazing and wonderful news. NYS has become a great model in these dark times, and it would be fantastic to see other states pick up this model as well, as our current regime would never do anything so positive and *gasp* socialist.

Via NBC and NY Daily News.

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