Cool Stuff Friday.

The Postal Museum Opening July 2017 from The Postal Museum on Vimeo.

During the First World War, in order protect art treasures from German attack, English museum administrators worked with the country’s national postal service to store precious artworks in a network of subway tunnels 70′ below street level. Now, you can take a ride through the historic Mail Rail when you buy tickets to London’s Postal Museum opening July 28th.

Roughly 100 years ago, the Post Office in London started utilizing a secret labyrinth of narrow tunnels, 6.5 miles long, to safely transport letters, parcels, and postcards through the city. At its peak, the Mail Rail system operated 22 hours a day and employed 220 staff that moved more than four million letters daily. The network of tunnels criss-crossed tube lines and linked six sorting offices with mainline stations at Liverpool Street and Paddington. The underground Mail Rail operation was so covert that museums like the Tate, British Museum and National Portrait Gallery deemed it safe enough to store their most precious artworks. According to representatives for the Postal Museum, the British Museum once even used the tunnels to store the Rosetta Stone.

There’s more at The Creators Project and The Postal Museum.

The Virgin Artiste.

At The Bushwick Collective block party early in June, Ashleigh Alexandria, who goes by The Virgin Artiste, body painted a model live against a brick wall covered with a graffiti painting of a skull, the work of eight-year-old street artist Ethan Armen. As Ashleigh was photographing her work on top of Armen’s work, a cop walked by. “I found the imagery of a nude, Black model covered in paint close to a police officer to be ironic,” Alexandria tells Creators, “due to the recent police killings of Black men and women.”

Sometimes Alexandria’s subjects are painted to blend into their backgrounds, but more often than not, her subjects stand out from their environment while still remaining a part of it. A lifelong New Yorker, Alexandria is a portrait artist and a body painter whose work plays with the practice of body paint blending made famous by artists like Liu Bolin, in which subjects are made to disappear into their surroundings. While Bolin is an important influence, Alexandria’s practice is a reinterpretation of this concept. “My use of women of color as subjects shows how these women can be blended into the background of American society,” she explains.

You can see and read much more at The Creators Project.

Ghastly, ghostly, and gory, Neill Blomkamp’s new sci-fi short Firebase is set in a Vietnam War haunted by more than just post-traumatic stress disorder and political unrest. While the latter are resolutely present, soldiers on the front lines face a supernatural force so powerful and destructive they refer to it as “The Devil.” Obviously the CIA is involved, which is why the details of this faux documentary aren’t in our modern day history books.

“Volume 1” of the District 9 and Chappy director’s latest introduces us to the second cinematic universe by Oats Studio, his new independent venture invoking the power of fandom with a “pay-if-you-can” business model. The first in the series is Rakka, an allegory for military occupation in which a human resistance led by Sigourney Weaver fights a brutal alien race equipped with powerful weapons and mind control. Firebase turns inward, examining the destructive force of trauma through the lens of American troops invading Vietnam. Warning, this film is bloody.

If you want to find out what happens next, you can support Oats Studio by purchasing the film on Steam.

You can read more about this at The Creators Project.

Is the City of Chicago trolling the 45th president of the United States? A gleaming, six-foot-tall sculpture that appeared this week near the downtown Trump International Hotel and Tower certainly suggests so, spelling out just two words in thick, golden letters: “REAL FAKE.”

The quip appeared on Monday evening, installed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) as part of a new installation of public art along the Chicago Riverwalk. Simply titled “Real Fake,” the 350-pound fiberglass work, coated in metallic paint, appears as a direct dig at President Trump and his endless dismissal of the media’s criticisms as “fake news” while leading a life of fraudulence himself. But the piece, created by local artist Scott Reeder, was actually first installed in 2013 as part of Art Basel Miami Beach, where it loomed on the grassy knoll of Collins Park. It’s on loan to the city now by Reeder’s gallery, Kavi Gupta.

Hyperallergic has the full story on Real Fake!

John Pfahl, “Bethlehem #25) (1988), color print. (courtesy Cantor Arts Center).

A fascinating look at the landscape photographers of the 1960s and 1970s, the refusal to romanticize the landscape, and the intertwining of art and environmentalists. Full story here.

Sketch of an iris from The Florist (1760).

The Florist, printed in 1760, was a colouring book for adults, and one for serious colourists with watercolour experience.

The Florist was intended, as its title page relays, “for the use and amusement of Gentlemen and Ladies.” But, unlike most contemporary coloring books, it wasn’t meant to soothe the mind or encourage limitless creativity; rather, it served more as a manual for those seeking to sharpen their artistic skills. The Florist was for serious adult colorists only, filled with detailed instructions on how to paint each flower strictly according to its natural colors. (Yes, paint — this was the pre-crayon and -colored pencil era, so aspiring artists would have used watercolors.) See the directions, for instance, for a gladiolus:

This flower is crimson, inclining to purple; begun with a string layer of carmine, and neatly shading with a mixture of carmine and prussian blue. The bottom of the flower is white, shaded with a greenish tinge, by a mixture of Indian ink and sap-green; neatly blending the carmine by it, by fine strokes of each color. The leaves and stalk, from the beginning of the flowers of the top, are a brown, made with sap-green and carmine.

You can read all about The Florist, and see more, at Hyperallergic.

Nesting.

From Charly: Another capture during my picture hunt. A parasitic wasp from the family Sphecidae. She was frantically running and flying around in complicated curves and it took me awhile until I realized what she is doing – she was digging her nest and memorizing its surroundings so she can find it. I got lucky a few times to get her somewhat into focus before she buzzed off probably to eat something to get strength for further digging.  Rare shots, click for full size!

© Charly, all rights reserved.

A Burden Of Buzzwords In A Blurb.

So, I’m reading an article, and get stuck on “activated cashews”.  WTF are activated cashews? I already know that yes, cashews are good for you, in moderation, like many things. I also knew I was going to be very sorry for clicking on the cashew link. Yep, definitely sorry. It’s certainly easy to take money from people who have an excess of it, and apparently, one hell of a deficit in the sense department. What are activated cashews? A serious excess of empty buzzwords, signifying nothing, and a small bag of very overpriced nuts. Here’s the buzzy blurb:

Our enzyme-rich, activated, and dehydrated cashews are a mineral-dense protein. Pure, alkaline water awakens the nuts’ dormant properties, increasing digestibility and micronutrient, vitamin, and enzyme count. These raw, activated, bio-available nuts are a low-glycemic, anti-inflammatory source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that nourish skin, bones, and heart.

Perfect for high functioning snacking and activated nut milks, topping yogurts, puddings, and cereals, and for creating treats like granolas, cookies, crackers,  and your magical creations we haven’t discovered yet.

INGREDIENTS: Raw, organic, activated cashews

Gluten-free and non-GMO

As to why you need to activate nuts, or pay outrageous amounts of money for them? If you guessed this is a traditional method among certain cultures…bingo! I didn’t go into it enough to see just which particular tradition and culture is being co-opted here, but it all seems to trace back to one particular person, and a bunch of gullible idiots glommed onto it. Here’s a bit of it:

They seem like a great choice of snack – high in protein and essential fats, and riddled with fibre, antioxidants and minerals. This we know to be true, but they also contain natural chemicals that could interfere with your digestive system and prevent you from absorbing all of that wonderful nutrition.

Similar to how grains and legumes contain phytic acid, nuts contain enzyme inhibitors. Enzyme inhibitors act by binding to enzymes and decrease and/or block their actions. The enzyme inhibitors are beneficial to nuts, as they prevent the nuts from prematurely sprouting, however they also act on our digestive enzymes, preventing their proper digestion and absorption.

Nuts and seeds also contain small amount of phytic acid, which our digestive system is also unable to break down. Eating large amounts of raw nuts could then lead to symptoms such as feeling ‘heavy’, feelings of uncomfortable fullness, even nausea. Not only this, but it puts a massive strain on our our digestive system, compromising already fragile digestive tracts.

[…]

Activating nuts is an ancient and traditional practice that required the soaking of nuts and seeds in brine and letting them dry in the hot sun. Nowadays, we have a much faster and more sanitary method of drying, but the objective remains the same.

The soaking times of nuts vary according to what text you read. My personal method of activating nuts is inspired by Sally Fallon, as described in her book, “Nourishing Traditions”.
How to activate your nuts…

  1. Dissolve salt in enough water to cover the amount of nuts/seeds you are activating.
  2. In a large bowl place your nut or seed of choice.
  3. Cover with the salt water solution.
  4. Soak for the required number of hours.
  5. Strain and rinse the nuts.
  6. Spread over a dehydrator rack, or baking tray.
  7. Dry in the dehydrator for around 12-24 hours.
  8. If drying in the oven, set the oven at the lowest temperature possible, preferably no more than 65C. Stir or turn them occasionally, for the required drying time.
  9. And the result? A crunchy, delicious, totally bio-available and stress-free, nut!

It is important to ensure that your nuts really are dry and crispy before removing them from the dehydrator or oven, otherwise there is a risk that your beautiful and expensive nuts will become riddled with mould.

But mould is natural! Probably fuckin’ traditional somewhere in the world too, if you just look hard enough. Sweet Zombie Jesus, there are a lot of idiots in the world. It’s certainly easy enough to see why some people just decide to start picking pockets on a large scale, you can just make shit up wholesale, plaster buzziness all over it, and before you know it, you have a mattress full of money.

A 3,000 Year Old Prosthetic Device.

Toe prosthesis of a female burial from the Theban tomb TT95, early first millennium BCE (all photos by Matjaž Kačičnik, © University of Basel, LHTT).

About 3,000 years ago, a woman from Upper Egypt had her right big toe removed. Her anatomical anomaly may have been lost to time, had it not been for the discovery of her mummy in 1997, with a wooden toe still attached to the skeletal foot. Smoothly sculpted and complete with a neatly trimmed toenail, the artificial toe is likely one of the oldest prosthetic devices ever made. It has resided in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum since being excavated from its owner’s tomb near Luxor, but is currently undergoing new study by researchers from the museum, the University of Basel, and the University of Zurich.

Thanks to the team’s use of microscopy, X-ray technology, and computer tomography, we now have new insight into the toe’s functionality, materiality, and fabrication process. Like today’s prostheses, it was acutely tailored to its wearer — it was even refitted for her foot several times, the researchers found. More than a cosmetic accessory, the toe consists of three sections — two of wood, one of leather — and would have helped the woman walk, which attests to the skills of an artisan with intimate knowledge of human physiognomy.

“So far no prosthetic devices are known from this period,” Dr. Susanne Bickel, an Egyptologist at the University of Basel, told Hyperallergic. “The level of sophistication makes this a unique piece.”

[…]

Aside from wood, the toe was made with leather, rope, and textile bands, which its owner would have used to attach it to her foot. As Finch described, it features holes through which a series of bands tie its pieces together; it even has a hinge, perhaps to mimic the movement of the metatarsophalangeal joints. The woman would have even been able to wear it with sandals, and while it likely would have eased her mobility, it also would have helped her foot appear natural to others, at a glance.

“Balance might indeed have been an important reason for wearing such a device,” Bickel told Hyperallergic. “The idea of having a complete body, which was central to Ancient Egyptian minds, might have been a reason for seeking an aesthetic aspect to it.”

Hyperallergic has the full story.

The Sweet Rainbow Image, Violated, Raped!

Photo by Benson Kua.

A few days ago, I posted about Linda Harvey’s deranged rant over some rainbow french fries containers at a Washington DC McDonald’s. She’s at it again, apparently unable to let this whole rainbow business go. In yet another unhinged screed at WND, Ms. Harvey comes up with every possible epithet to hurl at those who don’t pay attention to her particular meaning when it comes to rainbows. The title of her screed is The cross beats the stolen rainbow, but for all that, Ms. Harvey seems to be unable to focus on the cross, her eyes constantly sliding back to the rainbow and all those horrible sexual anarchists. Perhaps if you indulge in a few days worth of porn, Ms. Harvey, you might be able to loosen your fascination with all those speedo-clad, gyrating bodies.

Take, for instance, the magnificent rainbow. Its celebration overtones convey simple joy, innocence and purity of heart.

But the sweet rainbow image has been violated, raped by the deluded and fraudulent, and it now serves too often as a garish signpost for slavery to grave homosexual sin.

No, the ‘sweet’ rainbow image (which fucking one?) has not been violated, and it most certainly has not been raped. I have little use for idiots who just love to use the word rape to try and add shock value to something minor. People who have been raped would be happy to explain the differences to you, I’m sure. So, a depiction has been used by people you don’t like. Got it. That’s not rape, Ms. Harvey. Now, a rainbow is a rainbow is a rainbow. There are only so many ways to depict one, and they’ve all pretty much been done. Rainbows haven’t gotten more garish when they are on the queer side of life. As you’re the one who insists that rainbows began with the psychopathic tantrum you call Jehovah, perhaps you should be questioning his taste.

Rainbows are a natural phenomenon, and as I pointed out earlier, people have no doubt been fascinated with them for always. Most people figure out early in life how easy it is to make a rainbow. Not a big deal. It is in no way fraudulent for people to use depictions of rainbows in any way they want.

It’s clear God did not intend for the rainbow to represent rebellion, iniquity and division.

The rainbow flag in the queer community does not represent rebellion, iniquity and division. It represents acceptance, community, unity, and love.

The mightiest logo of all time is the cross, where Christ shed His blood for the world’s sin and God transformed the tool of torturous execution – what Satan intended for destruction and permanent humiliation – into eternal hope for all who would believe in Jesus.

Oh, I don’t think a cross is the mightiest logo of all time, Ms. Harvey. At the moment, it’s not even strong enough for you to keep your eyes on it. How does Lucifer get into this? The whole moronic scheme of “oh, hey, I’ll have a kid, then kill it to fix all my fuck ups” was Jehovah’s idea. A stellar example of how a fucking idiot thinks, to be sure. Anyroad, without all that nonsense, the bad plot of christianity falls apart.

Atheists want crosses removed wherever visible, of course, believing they deserve veto power over what they ironically find offensive – God’s salvation offer to humankind.

It’s not a matter of offense, Ms. Harvey. It’s a matter of the government not supposedly favouring one religion over others. That’s part of that constitution you fucking fanatics claim to love so much.

Well, I’m offended by the rainbows hung all over Columbus, Ohio, every June for “pride” month, as this beautiful image morphs into a brand identity for perversion. I feel excluded because the depraved have taken the Lord’s glorious sign of hope and corrupted it. Why shouldn’t I sue?

The beautiful image doesn’t morph at all. It’s still a rainbow. Go ahead and sue, who the fuck cares?

As Christians, we have that option, of course, but believers in Jesus Christ don’t always go this route because we are more secure than that, knowing that in this life or the next, every person’s knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.

:Snort: Oh, oh my :falls over laughing: About the most insecure people on the planet are christians. Your whole bloody history is a monument to the constant insecurity over your idiotic beliefs. Your insecurity is why there is always a court case in the queue over christians whining about having to bake a fucking cake or some other nonsense. If you truly had faith, none of this would bother you in the slightest. You don’t have faith, however, which is why you always go the same old route: oppression.

Yet millions are being misled by this wicked movement, and it’s especially heartbreaking that so many are children and teens.

Many children and teens are LGBTQ, and many of them are ruthlessly rejected by family, and often mercilessly bullied. A sign of acceptance, community, and love is crucial for those children, and yet, you would deny them that. Christian love in action.

The rainbow stands as God’s covenant with all mankind – not just those who believe in Him now, because some of these flagrant sinners will repent, which is our constant prayer.

Yeah, that’s what a rainbow means to you. It’s not what it means to everyone else. Historically speaking, rainbows have stood for all manner of things, and once again, your Johnny-come-lately god is not the be all end all in the matter.  Besides, that so-called covenant makes you christians a bit crazy, doesn’t it? You never shut up about wanting the apocalypse to hit, when there’s gonna be a great smiting and slaughter, and blood flowing from all us awful unbelievers. You don’t want peace, christians never want peace, so yeah, I can see how the rainbow as a symbol of love gets under your skin.

Is Satan clever or what? He has countless people in this country doing his bidding, failing to understand they are preppers for the pit of hell.

Their Savior – if they would recognize Him – is the real author of the rainbow for His original life-affirming, godly purposes.

:eyeroll: Lucifer doesn’t exist, anymore than your idiotic Jehovah, or the sacrifice on legs, Jesus. Being a prepper is more of a christian thing, Ms. Harvey, more of that apocalyptic wishful thinking. I’m not a prepper of any kind. Jehovah is not the author of rainbows, or anything else. “life-affirming” purposes? Oh, please.

Its current misuse needs to end. Rainbows should accompany what God would smile on. God is not smiling on homosexual conduct, gender defiance or the corruption of children, and He never will.

Oh, yes of course, you know exactly what Jehovah would and wouldn’t smile upon! It’s so convenient, isn’t it, having a little god puppet that believes exactly as you do? Even if your nasty god was real, I wouldn’t give a shit about what he did or didn’t like. An ugly, evil being, and not one I’d want anything to do with.

An appropriate rainbow for the “LGBTQ” sin identity front would look very different, featuring colors like brown, puce, mauve, gray and black – lots and lots of black.

Right, because we all know black is bad. Very bad. Man, you are such a nasty person. Well, Ms. Harvey, I guess you haven’t heard about the new rainbow flag! I’m sure we can all look for yet another screed once you do find out.

Depressing, uninspiring, empty, leading nowhere. Satan’s banner.

Um, I’m not sure how puce and mauve got in your depressing, uninspiring flag, do you even know what those colours are, Ms. Harvey? As for brown, gray, and black, those are lovely colours, many people like them, and they can be made to be quite exciting, dramatic, and inspirational. You’re quite the idiot, Ms. Harvey. This would be a nice project for a fucktonne of artists, though! I might have to play with this at some point myself, when I’m not quite so backed up with work.

The rainbow’s current use by sexual anarchists turns hope into a license for sin. Rainbow-adorned clergy? You are in for some hot eternal times, unless repentance comes along soon.

No, no, you have that all wrong. As previously noted, the rainbow is a symbol of acceptance, community, unity, and love in the queer community. That’s just brimming with hope. What do you offer? A lifetime on your knees, polishing the knob of a psychopath so you won’t be eternally tortured. Yeah, I’ll stay on the queer side here, thanks. Oh, rainbow adorned clergy – yes, there are some christians who try to get it right, but until they unite to take assholes like you down, being rainbow clad is not enough.

Gyrating, Speedo-wearing sado-masochists on rainbow-decorated “pride” floats? Look out for what’s coming, unless you bow before the King of Kings.

:falls over laughing again: Oh honey, you walked right into that one. Now, I would like to know how you deduce sadomasochism from dancing in speedos. Well, maybe not. Your tortured reasoning would be painful, I’m sure.

McDonald’s selling French fries in rainbow containers, and Amazon peddling an array of rainbow “pride month” apparel? There will be an accounting, do not doubt this.

Yeah, yeah, what the fuck ever. That useless god of yours never comes through though, does he? So you end up reduced to ranting on the internet, like millions of others, your screed whipped into the ever active whirlpool of internet screeds, a meaningless howl into the pixelated void.

Via WND.

The Amazon Washington Post and Internet Taxes!!1!

Donald J. Trump: “The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!

Y’know, at this point, I’d be relieved to find out that Donny is doing some serious drugs. File under Tiny Tyrant What The Fuck.

Via Twitter.