1. quotetheunquote says

    Caine @1:

    Arrrrrrrgh! We’re going to be in Chile over New Year’s, but not going to be anywhere near the Atacama (we’re flying south, internal flight and rooms all booked already). What a sight that would be, though, dammit!

    Of course, it’s probably moot, the bloom would be off (as it were) by the time we got there…

  2. says

    quotetheunquote @ 5:

    Arrrrrrrgh! We’re going to be in Chile over New Year’s, but not going to be anywhere near the Atacama (we’re flying south, internal flight and rooms all booked already). What a sight that would be, though, dammit!

    This is one of those ‘right place, right time’ situations, but to be so close and miss it, yes, arrrrgh! Going to Chile sounds exciting though – is this vacation, visiting family, business? If you have the time, I’d hope you’d take a fucktonne of photos and be willing to share them, I’ve never been to Chile, and I’d love to have a mini-tour via photos.

  3. quotetheunquote says

    Caine @ 6:
    It’s a mini-vacation – and a return trip, as we loved it so much the first time, five years ago. Yes, I am keen on photography, particularly mountain landscapes, and Chile is the best – all those knife edges, and dry air (images so much sharper than on our own “left coast.”)

    This is a little awkward, because there is a great deal of text to scroll through, but there are some images from that first trip here. Jump to post #49 for a sampling of what I mean about the mountains (I’m strictly an amateur when it comes to photography, try to imagine these scenes in the hands of a professional!)

    We’re going there for a mere seven days again, ¡que lastima!.
    Seems ridiculous to fly 10.5 hours each way for such a short vacation, but there it is; the “spousal equivalent for tax purposes” is in university part-time, has to be back in class at the beginning of January.

    @7: Nice b-h grosbeaks. We don’t get them here in the east.

  4. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    Poem du jour:

    Deceiving the Gods
    by Ellen Bass

    The old Jews rarely admitted good fortune.
    And if they did, they’d quickly add kinahora—
    let the evil eye not hear. What dummkopf
    would think the spirits were on our side?
    But even in a tropical paradise
    laden with sugarcane and coconut,
    something like the shtetl’s wariness exists.
    In Hawaii, I’m told, a fisherman
    never spoke directly, lest the gods
    arrive at the sea before him.
    Instead he’d look to the sky,
    the fast-moving clouds, and say,
    I wonder if leaves are falling in the uplands!
    Let us go and gather leaves.
    So, my love, today let’s not talk at all.
    Let’s be like those couples
    eating silently in restaurants,
    barely a word the entire meal.
    We pitied them, but now I see
    they were always so much smarter than we were.

    “Deceiving the Gods” by Ellen Bass from Like a Beggar. © Copper Canyon Press, 2014.

  5. tbtabby says

    Has anyone here seen Adam Ruins Everything? It’s a refreshing dose of skepticism and facts presented in a humorous manner, and it delivers the important lesson that EVERYTHING should be questioned, even if it’s something that makes you feel good.

  6. says

    I am amazed by you textile creators, I have tried, but anything with string or thread of any kind leaves me in a tangled mess. Daughter person sews and does cross stitch, she learned it from her grandmother, but it skipped me completely.

    My thing is watercolor painting ( ) and I am reasonably good at it. How many of you guys paint and what mediums do you favor?

    Where do people here generally acquire supplies? Hobby Lobby was kind of the big player as far as brick and mortar goes, but I found that Cheap Joe’s is actually better in almost every way if you don’t mind ordering online. I wouldn’t mind finding a few more resources, though.

  7. says

    Quotetheunquote, pffft on the amateur stuff, I’m an amateur photographer, too. I’ve saved your link for later looking and reading, I’m up to my neck in cleaning and other unsavoury business.

    An 1800s book, Street Life in London, is available to read, and it’s full of fantastic photographs, depicting the said people who make up London street life, while the commentary is sometimes fuckin’ awful, as you’d expect.

  8. says

    Cameradragon @ 11:

    How many of you guys paint and what mediums do you favor?

    :Raises hand: I don’t restrict media, although I’ve long favoured watercolours. Lately though, I’ve used pencil, inks, acrylics, oils, and earth pigments. I have a lovely blank canvas awaiting oils, if I ever recover my studio from the rats (Sappho is about to get tossed out a window.)

    Where do people here generally acquire supplies? Hobby Lobby was kind of the big player as far as brick and mortar goes, but I found that Cheap Joe’s is actually better in almost every way if you don’t mind ordering online. I wouldn’t mind finding a few more resources, though.

    The only game in town (Bismarck, ND) anymore is Hobby Lobby. I had tried to actively avoid it, outside of “fuck, need this right now” situations, but when I mentioned that here in a couple of threads, people were such fucking assholes it was damn near unbelievable. None of them made a living via art, either. So, I switched to textiles mostly, and depend on online shopping for supplies now.
    I can’t get your link to load, I’ll try later on.
    Chigau @ 16:

    Thanks for that link!

    the photos are wonderful and sad

    Yes, they are. I was appalled by The Crawlers, jesus, the lack of humanity.

  9. opus says

    If anyone is in the Atlanta area Fernbank Museum has an exhibit on Women of Vision. It’s work by women photographers on assignment for National Geographic. Link is here:

    Fernbank information is here:

    It’s in Atlanta until January then on to Orlando and Chicago.

    I wonder how many of the photographers lost their jobs this week. Unfortunately this is the kind of work that has no place in Rupert Murdoch’s world.

  10. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Cameradragon @ 11

    Used to paint with oils years ago but they stink and are toxic so now I use watercolour media — less stinky, still toxic :)

    I use classic water colours (pan, not tube for me), aquarelle pencils and most recently: water colour markers. These are like Copic markers but are filled with watercolour pigments instead of ink. Great with a water filled brush pen.

    My last effort was back to basics though: good old graphite pencils. I also have some new tubes of gauche that also need an idea.

    Sorry I can’t really help with where to purchase. I am spoiled for choice with two art stores and a gallery nearby that sell artist’s materials.

    Caine @ 17

    RE: Hobby Lobby comments: Wha? What was with the assholes* if I may ask… Puppetmestress vaguely remembers, but I have edited it from my memory.

    * arseholes – try the British variant – you can drag that first syllable out to make it sooo much nastier.

  11. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Caine, I am loving the bird photos!
    My last series of drawings was all about birds ( and dragonflies ) :)

  12. blf says

    I am not entirely sure what I think about this (or where to post it, deciding to place it in this series since it is an artistic event), Casting of white actor as Martin Luther King prompts outrage from playwright. The following excerpts are deliberately very limited, as it perhaps better if people read the article in full:

    Ohio university production of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop featured a white and black actor as King, which Hall says was ‘disrespectful’ and a ‘disservice’

    The casting of a white actor as Martin Luther King in an Ohio university production of Katori Hall’s acclaimed play The Mountaintop was “a disservice to not just Dr King but an entire community”, the playwright has said.


    Hall told the Guardian that director Michael Oatman’s decision to double-cast the six-show production with a black actor and a white actor as King went “deeper than just casting a white man in the role of MLK”.

    “I just really feel as though it echoes this pervasive erasure of the black body and the silencing of a black community — theatrically and also, literally, in the world,” she said.

    Oatman, who like Hall is black, said in a statement in August promoting the play that he chose a white actor for the production “to explore the issue of racial ownership and authenticity”.


    Dr King argued for equality for all.
    Ms Hall has a point, POC are marginalized or simply shot dead.
    Mr Oatman also has a point, neither Dr King’s points, nor Dr King himself, are the “property” of any particular collection of people.
    However, Dr King was assassinated, apparently both because of his points and skin colour, and was assassinated so recently society’s lost and civilization’s wound is still quite raw. Some discretion and careful sensitivity is appropriate, perhaps especially when Dr King himself (not to exclude other victims) is directly involved.

  13. blf says

    How many of you guys paint and what mediums do you favor?

    I don’t paint anymore (albeit I cannot rule out trying again), but I used to do a bit of oil, and a bit of watercolour, plus some pastels (never quite got the hang of that), and a lot of drawing (both pencil and pen). I don’t really do any “artistic” drawing / painting nowadays, unless you consider the odd engineering drawing (“blueprint” or block diagram) “art”, albeit you can find “doodles” in the margins of my notebooks. Which is sortof why I am writing this, at lunch today whilst shifting though a mass of engineering data and French vin, I found myself doodling in the notebook… (Sorry, I am not going to scan / post any examples, in part because of the need for commercial confidentiality about what else in the notebook.)

    No useful comment on “where to get supplies”, Sorry. Back when I did paint, there always seemed to be a suitable specialist shop in town (and this was, as far as I can recall, before Hubbris Loonies). I think that happens to still be the case, albeit perhaps more by accident of location that anything else (South coast of France with its excellent light, &tc.; there are a couple of likely shops I can think of here in the village or nearby, and you trip over the odd artist every now and then…).

  14. says


    My last series of drawings was all about birds ( and dragonflies ) :)

    Anywhere I could see? I love drawings and paintings of birds, and who doesn’t love the dragons?

  15. says

    Thanks, Morgan. :D I have a lovely, sedate, vintage Fedora (gray) for when I’m sorta acting my age. Naturally, I needed an opposite hat. Yep.

  16. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    I also notice the unmistakable bottle shape of Windsor & Newton media ;)
    I will see what I can do about showing my birdie drawings…

  17. blf says

    I admit I’ve never heard of this installation… US ad agency removes world-famous Nairobi artwork and auctions it:

    Described as an ‘art heist for good’, agency Deutsch have taken JR’s prints from the roofs of Kibera and given the proceeds to charity — causing disquiet to some on the ground, including the artist himself

    Could the spirit of Robin Hood be stalking the streets of Nairobi in the unlikely guise of a US advertising agency? That is how the Art Heist for Good is being presented. This fundraising publicity stunt links a French artist to a Nairobi slum, an international charity and Los Angeles’s “auction house to the stars”. Its organisers have already received praise from Adweek, Creative Review and the Huffington Post for their plan to sell art from the slums to fund sanitation projects. In an accompanying video for the Deutsch agency’s campaign, mounted on behalf of the NGO Water Is Life, a narrator claims that “there are millions of dollars’ worth of unguarded art, in one of the worst places in the world. I’m gonna take it, sell it to the highest bidder, and then use the money for good.”

    Yet, just as in the Sherwood Forest fable, this modern-day myth doesn’t match the facts on the ground. The story begins in 2009, when the pseudonymous French artist JR photographed local women in Kibera, the Kenyan capital’s largest slum. JR printed his subjects’ faces on to vinyl-covered tarpaulins, and fixed these to the roofs of local shacks. The installation formed part of the artist’s Women Are Heroes project, in which he pays tribute to the maligned role women play in society. Yet these coverings also served a more direct use, by waterproofing Kibera’s homes.


    To describe the scheme as a “heist” is an exaggeration. They worked with local representatives, and replaced the vinyl coverings with new, metal roofing. However, they did not gain the consent of either JR or the women in the photographs. “We tried,” says [Julia] Neumann [the project’s creative director (presumably with the Deutsch agency –blf)], adding that the women were hard to track down, and that JR did not respond to their advances.


    Neumann says their initial lot, of a 324-by-264-inch tarpaulin print of a woman’s eye, was sold at Julien’s in September, generating $10,000 for the water charity; far less than the millions mentioned, though welcome funding for such vital work.

    [… arguments about whether or not the piece sold was by JR …]

    Provenance aside, JR also sees the heist as a clumsy way to raise cash. “You have an NGO investing tons of their benefactors’ money to sell a piece at a small auction house for $10,000?” he says. “The idea was interesting but highly inefficient.”

    What’s more, the suggestion that poor people are surrounded by untapped wealth could cause problems. “Kibera is a sensitive place where violent riots took place a few years ago,” says JR. “When the NGO and their advertising agency explain that the people there have a million dollars’ worth of art pieces above their heads and that it is OK to take it and sell it, they take the risk to start a war.”

  18. blf says

    Names? Squish, Squash, SquARRRGGGGHHHH!… Isn’t naming forty-foot high killer rats a bit boring? Not to mention short, and resulting in a high degree of flatness (or at least of being one with the ground).

  19. says


    Isn’t naming forty-foot high killer rats a bit boring?

    No, they aren’t forty-foot high yet. Gotta take advantage of the window, yeah?

  20. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says


    I looked up synonyms for pink and found these:
    Pinky, Rosy, Ruby, Peachblossom, Fuchsia, Scarlet, Carmine, Shrimp, Cerise, Cherry and Magenta. They are pinkies after all. :-)

  21. blf says

    At the end of the New York Times interview with Justice Ginsberg and Ms Steinem, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Gloria Steinem on the Unending Fight for Women’s Rights) there’s this amusing — and intriguing — comment from the Justice (RBG):

    [… NYT]: Last subject: You are both bridge builders. Justice Ginsburg on the court; and Gloria, with a sea of men and women over the years. Any advice for getting along with people who disagree with us to the core — like Justice Scalia?


    RBG: […] Do you know about this opera “Scalia/Ginsburg” by a talented musician who went to law school? Scalia’s opening aria is: “The Justices are blind. How can they possibly spout this? The Constitution says nothing about this.” And I answer: “You are searching in vain for a bright-line solution for a problem that isn’t so easy to solve. But the beautiful thing about our Constitution is that, like our society, it can evolve.” Then she goes into a jazzy part. Let it grow.

    I’ve never heard of that opera before (or, to be honest, most operas, not really being a fan of the art / music form). The linked-to review’s description:

    What happens when Supreme Court justices go before a Higher Power? In this comic opera, Justices Ginsburg and Scalia must pass through three cosmic trials to secure their freedom. The catch: they may have to agree on the Constitution. […]

    Tee-Hee! Now that could be amusing…

  22. says


    Pinky, Rosy, Ruby, Peachblossom, Fuchsia, Scarlet, Carmine, Shrimp, Cerise, Cherry and Magenta.

    Hee. If only they were going to stay pink. I’d love to name one Magenta, ’cause back in the day when I was young and went to Midnight shows of Rocky Horror, I was always Magenta. Used to be told I looked like her, not that I was ever that good lookin’.

    Hmmm, as Chigau and I noticed, on the latest ratlet pic, “part black” has whiskers and opened eyes already. If she is in fact a she, perhaps Magenta. If not, there’s always Septimus Pretorius. :D

  23. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    Or the names of the actresses who played the role. There were many, but Elsa Lanchester and Madeline Kahn come to mind.

  24. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    A humorous personal note: At my advanced age I have remarkably little grey hair. I do have a white streak emerging at each temple. When I pull the longish hair back it resembles the very chic Bride of Frankenstein up-do.

  25. blf says

    This is a really nice set of photographs, Everyday life for Muslims in the USA — in pictures: “Photographer Robert Gerhardt has been documenting the lives of Muslims living in America for the last five years and says of the project Muslim/American, American/Muslim — ‘if it starts a conversation that could lead to greater understanding, then it would have been successful’.”

    It starts with an NYPD officer at daily prayer, and includes boy scouts, reading classes, and a whole range of other day-to-day activities. Nothing exceptional at all (at least if one happens to be white & privileged), including a very powerful T-shirt message: “My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”

  26. says


    The most stunning shot I ever saw of a Kingfisher was taken by a photog on PhotoSig (this was some years back – people say the site has been terminally fucked over by personalities now, I don’t know, haven’t been there for ages), but if I really want to be depressed, I can do a google image search on ‘kingfisher’ and be jaw-droppingly stunned by the images people have captured. When it comes to birds, I have what is considered to be a very small lens, so I have to be very close to my prey, so to speak, which is why every kingfisher shot I’ve managed is lousy. Unfortunately, when it comes to wildlife, gear fucking matters. Even if you’re willing to hike out to nowhere, hauling a hide and being willing to sit in one for half of forever (I would be), the cost of a really good hide is prohibitive. Location also matters – in a lot of places, birds are so used to bloody people, they don’t care about their presence. Not the case where I am – everything around here gets shot at, so they are extremely wary, and don’t like the presence of anyone.

    Saad, your fianceé is gorgeous, and that is a stunning portrait.

    Giliell, thank you! I’ll look up your tutorial (thank you) – I suck at that sort of thing, but Mister is good at it, so…

  27. Saad says

    Giliell & Caine,


    I’m trying to get into more artistic portraiture. That particular shot was improvised (we didn’t think of a specific look, background, hairstyle, etc). At this stage it’s pretty much trial and error; I spend a lot of time in post-processing playing around and figuring things out. That’s half the fun of photography for me.

  28. opus says


    I too find superlative bird photography to be depressing. I would so love to be good at it but you’ve identified some of the major reasons I am not: money, time, and money. Followed closely by what seems to be a distinct lack of talent. I had a chance to visit the Viera Wetlands last winter, with a friend who is really into photography. He and his wife each have a 600 mm lens on a DX camera, which equates to a 900 m lens*. There were a number of serious photographers as well; several I saw had $15,000 outfits, Nikon D4S with a 600 mm lens . I was seriously outclassed and out-performed. And depressed. This is why I try to do macro photography in controlled situations when I have time.

    * I know, I know: not strictly accurate.

  29. says


    a 600 mm lens on a DX camera, which equates to a 900 m lens*.

    Oh man, I wish, I wish.

    On the other hand, I adore macro, and have a great time shooting macro without a dedicated macro lens. In that, my main workhorse lens works perfectly. I’m pretty much happy with what I can do, and manipulate situations so I can get at least some of what I want (like having bird tables really, really close) and so on. I’ll never be a pro, and I don’t know that I’d want to be. For me, photography is simply an extension of being an artist, an indulgence I’m grateful to be able to indulge in at all.

  30. opus says

    The first freeze of the fall is tonight in the southern Appalachians and I had a chance to visit his farm yesterday, so I thought this might be appropriate.


    Hardly six months away from June,
    The bright and temperate afternoon
    Was mild as spring’s or summer’s, still
    The air contained a certain chill

    No instrument might register
    But witnessed by the constant chirr
    Of crickets hid in leafy gold
    Complaining shrilly of a cold

    My calendar had not embraced
    Until that moment when I faced
    Skyward, and saw the waning sun
    Shine ghostly through a skeleton,

    And one leaf shaking on a bough
    Whose spectral substance cast, somehow,
    As late November light declined,
    Its wintry shadow on my mind.

    –Byron Herbert Reece
    From A Song of Joy, 1952

  31. opus says


    I was lucky enough to be able to spend some money on a lens and absolutely love my Tokina 100mm, which is a poor man’s version of the Nikon 105 mm. If I have a chance to upgrade I’d try to upgrade my macro tools and have even debated selling my zoom to free up some cash. We used to travel a lot and the zoom was nice, but since we’ve settled down I rarely use it.

  32. blf says

    Sour note lifted in kimchi war as North Korea gets taste of victory at UN:

    Regime receives recognition for its own version of staple cabbage dish that is a source of sustenance and national pride on both sides of border

    North Korea has scored a major victory in the kimchi war with the UN all but elevating its pickled vegetables to the same lofty status as its southern neighbour’s spicy capitalist cabbage.

    Pyongyang suffered a blow to its prestige two years ago when South Korea’s kimchi — a favourite dish made mostly from fermented cabbage — was added to Unesco’s prestigious list of the world’s “intangible cultural heritage”.

    Not to be outdone the north’s regime is now on the brink of getting the same classification for its own communist kimchi.

    The fiery, often strong-smelling foodstuff can provoke equally strong emotions, with fierce rivalry between regions, communities and even families over whose kimchi is superior.

    “Koreans share experience among themselves to make delicious kimchi according to season, while helping each other with raw materials and in preparation,” Unesco said as it confirmed the inclusion of the Democratic Republic of Korea’s “red kimchi” on a list of nominations to be rubberstamped at a meeting next week in Namibia.


    Seventeen other folk, dance, song and artisanal traditions are also set to receive Unesco help and protection, including [the preparation of Arabic coffee,] the crafting of Portuguese cow bells, bagpipe-playing in Slovakia, endangered oral traditions in Uganda, Mongolian “camel coaxing” rituals and male-only Romanian dances.

    The mildly deranged penguin is limbering up her bagpipes, coaxing the weirdest sounds out of them, by dancing on them whilst making coffee, ringing cows, and eating kimchi with, of course, cheese. This is not, however, the reason for the looming problem, North Korea runs short of ingredients for winter kimchi supplies: “Fears for country’s national dish after cabbage harvests damaged by drought and subsequent floods” — which is, unfortunately, not a joke, kimchi is a staple dish in N.Korea during the winter…

  33. blf says

    I would have put this in teh Discuss: Music thread, except it seems to be closed for comments, probably because its three month statue of limitations has expired… Algerian metal festival pits fans against conservatives:

    Fest 213 music event in Constantine unites new generation of metalheads, who say the music is not contrary to Islam

    They came from all over conservative Algeria, clad in black leather, studded bracelets and even traditional Muslim veils, to revel in a rare heavy metal festival.

    Held in Constantine, designated this year’s Capital of Arab Culture by the Arab League and Unesco, the two-day Fest 213 brought together metal fans from across the country.

    Headbanging and mosh pits may seem incongruous in Algeria, where the government prefers to promote traditional music and events that bolster its Arab-Muslim identity.

    But the country has had a solid core of metal fans for more than two decades and, despite occasional media charges of “devil worship”, the music is attracting a new generation of followers.

    “This is really unprecedented,” said a young woman from Constantine […]

    Dressed in black leather, with piercings and dyed-red hair, she was waiting for a concert to begin, accompanied by a friend with her own piercings but also wearing a Muslim veil.


    Algerian metal is a far cry from the Raï pop music, which also originated in the country. Metal first emerged there in the 1990s, during a decade marked by a devastating war between the government and Islamists, which eventually claimed 200,000 lives.

    With authorities preoccupied with battling extremism, an underground metal scene flourished largely unnoticed. More recently it has come under fire from conservatives, who accuse the music of corrupting Algeria’s youth.


    For now, followers of Algerian alternative music scene are doing what they can outside the mainstream. Social media is being used for promotion and finding independent associations willing to help organise events.

    In Algiers, a group of young people have set up a group called Mayhem to help promote musicians who play rock, metal and blues. It has already arranged for performances on the terrace of the capital’s Museum of Fine Arts.


  34. says

    Opus @ 65:

    Fuck me, that’s a brilliant shot! Gotta say I prefer the splashy ones though, great drama there. I’ve been that obsessed, more than once. Once you decide you need a perfect shot of whatever, well…as a minor example, I laid in a muddy ditch and took over 100 shots of this feather.

  35. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Saad – I love the photo at #53. May you both be very happy for many years.

    @Caine – I liked the sparrow photos, but the dappled light clearly presents some difficulty. Even so, #1 and #6 were exquisite.

    @Blf – Thanks for posting that photo study. I’d seen one like it, but not that one.

  36. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    Caine, George Forman named every one of his six (I think) sons George. And they weren’t identical. You could name them Nemo.

  37. blf says

    Anti-advertising: the hijacked bus stops of Paris — in pictures: “Brandalism activists have taken over 600 bus shelters all over Paris during COP21, the UN climate change conference, with satirical posters by more than 80 artists. The ad sites are owned by JC Decaux, one of the world’s largest outdoor ad firms and an official sponsor of the climate talks”.

    The Brandlism press release explains:

    Amidst the French state of emergency banning all public gatherings following the terrorist attacks on 13 November in Paris, the ‘Brandalism’ project has worked with Parisians to insert unauthorised artworks across the city that aim to highlight the links between advertising, consumerism, fossil fuel dependency and climate change.

    The artworks were placed in advertising spaces owned by JC Decaux — one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising firms and an official sponsor to the COP21 climate talks.Other prominent corporate sponsors of the climate talks such as Air France, GDF Suez (Engie) and Dow Chemicals are parodied in the posters -whilst heads of state such as Francois Hollande, David Cameron, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Shinzo Abi also feature.

    The artworks were created by over 80 renowned artists from 19 countries across the world including Neta Harari, Jimmy Cauty, Banksy-collaborator Paul Insect, Escif and Kennard Phillips — many of whom featured at Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition in England this summer.

    Joe Elan from Brandalism said, “By sponsoring the climate talks, major polluters such as Air France and GDF-Suez-Engie can promote themselves as part of the solution — when actually they are part of the problem.”

  38. says

    AbeBooks’ 50 Most Expensive Sales of 2014

    I gotta say, there are a number of books on that list I’d love to have, oh, if only I were rich. I’d really like the Dali illustrated Alice in Wonderland (1969) and The Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scot –
    A rare first edition of an influential 1584 text questioning the persecution of those accused of witchcraft. Because the book blamed that persecution on the Catholic Church, it was ordered burned when James I ascended the English throne in 1603.

    Oh, I’d like all of them!

  39. blf says

    Leto, Hades, and um

    Got stepped-on by a forty-foot higher killer rat, did we?
    Take several deep breaths (this will help you to reinflate), find the emergency ladder, climb out of the ratfootprint, and this time, watch where they are stepping…

  40. says

    The Agnes McSmartypants award goes to…



    Got stepped-on by a forty-foot higher killer rat, did we?
    Take several deep breaths (this will help you to reinflate), find the emergency ladder, climb out of the ratfootprint, and this time, watch where they are stepping…

    I is reinflated now. All is well, and the sextuplets remain unnamed.

  41. says

    Chigau, that’s only three!


    Looks like the rats are enjoying themselves, Caine.

    Oh yes, they are. We have a happy crew these days, even Sappho has mellowed out. (Which, if for no other reason, is really nice because she’s not trying to rip my face off anymore.)

  42. says

    Finally watched Jurassic World. As huge piles of stupid go, it was impressive. As was the sexism – lead actress instructions: first, play icy cold, icky kind of non-maternal woman, but make sure you shove your chest out at every opportunity, make sure no one can miss it! Then, soften up when children compliment you by saying your boyfriend is a badass. Oh, and running in heels is good, adds to the reality factor. Yep. Make sure to be all sticky sweet and longing for maternal duties at the end.


  43. Rob Grigjanis says

    A bit of George Meredith’s “The Lark Ascending“. It inspired Ralph Vaughan Williams’ musical piece of the same name (one of my favourites), which had something of a starring role in the recent TV adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. Here’s to the dead white blokes! :-)

    Was never voice of ours could say
    Our inmost in the sweetest way,
    Like yonder voice aloft, and link
    All hearers in the song they drink:
    Our wisdom speaks from failing blood,
    Our passion is too full in flood,
    We want the key of his wild note
    Of truthful in a tuneful throat,
    The song seraphically free
    Of taint of personality,
    So pure that it salutes the suns
    The voice of one for millions,
    In whom the millions rejoice
    For giving their one spirit voice.

  44. blf says

    Tiny Tudor treasure hoard found in Thames mud:

    Small gold items discovered over several years by eight different metal detectorists may all be from a 16th-century hat

    A very small treasure hoard — a handful of tiny fragments of beautifully worked Tudor gold — has been harvested from a muddy stretch of the Thames foreshore over a period of years by eight different metal detectorists.

    The pieces all date from the early 16th century, and the style of the tiny pieces of gold is so similar that Kate Sumnall, an archaeologist, believes they all came from the disastrous loss of one fabulous garment, possibly a hat snatched off a passenger’s head by a gust of wind at a time when the main river crossings were the myriad ferry boats.

    Such metal objects, including aglets — metal tips for laces — beads and studs, originally had a practical purpose as garment fasteners but by the early 16th century were being worn in gold as high-status ornaments, making costly fabrics such as velvet and furs even more ostentatious. […]

    Some of the Thames pieces are inlaid with enamel or little pieces of coloured glass. Despite the fact there is not enough gold in them to fill an egg cup, the pieces are legally treasure that must be declared to finds officers such as Sumnall […]

    Sumnall said they were an important find as a huge amount of skill had been invested in the intricate pieces. “These artefacts have been reported to me one at a time over the last couple of years. Individually they are all wonderful finds but as a group they are even more important. To find them from just one area suggests a lost ornate hat or other item of clothing. The fabric has not survived and all that remains are these gold decorative elements that hint at the fashion of the time.”

    The photograph is quite stunning. These items are small but they are heavily-worked, obviously by a very skilled artiste.

  45. opus says

    blf @ 97:

    That’s not the only gem involved! I love the term “licensed mudlark” and will hoard it for future use.

  46. blf says

    So the Guide of Assassins recommend knowledge and tools beyond those of embroidery, needles, forty-foot high killer rats, and horses.

    As an aside, Ye Pfffft! Of All Knowledge confirms my recollection, namely, yer new toy is, historically, usually, just very-sharp pointed. Sharp edges are uncommon, albeit not unknown.

  47. says


    So the Guide of Assassins recommend knowledge and tools beyond those of embroidery, needles, forty-foot high killer rats, and horses.


    As an aside, Ye Pfffft! Of All Knowledge confirms my recollection, namely, yer new toy is, historically, usually, just very-sharp pointed. Sharp edges are uncommon, albeit not unknown.

    Yes. It will have the classic extremely sharp point, but not edges. Mister is sharpening it now. (Sharpened cost extra, and as Mister has an extensive amount of sharp pointy thing sharpening tools, didn’t bother with the extra cost.) This particular stiletto is a reproduction of a 15th century Venetian stiletto which is under glass at the Doge’s Palace in Venice.

  48. blf says

    This particular stiletto is a reproduction of a 15th century Venetian stiletto which is under glass at the Doge’s Palace in Venice.

    Which suggests I’ve possibly seen the original, albeit my (faint) recollections are more of the artwork and statuary than letterpostperson openers.

  49. blf says

    Jealous. Very jealous.

    Hum… armed with forty-foot high killer rats, a sharp stiletto, probably a few peas and other nefarious devices, and fueled by jealously, I’ve decided to close the door. Just as a precaution, you know…

    (Of course, there are also the moats, drawbridge, boiling oil portals, pea-flinging terbuchets, squeaky floorboards (which don’t squeak so much as blow up), a certain penguin, a TARDIS occupied by an extremely angry mouse, and other routine precautions.)

  50. blf says

    I finally got a tripod for Christmas…

    Complete with death ray and immunized Martian crew, I presume…

  51. says

    Giliell @ 117:

    I finally got a tripod for Christmas…

    Oh, nice! Having a good tripod can make all the difference.

    And now to something totally different: Our Sci Fi New Year’S Eve Dinner

    Eeeeeeeeeee, I love the sweet little aliens! That all looked absolutely delicious, Giliell!

  52. says

    I doubt that too, blf. As to names, Violette is named after Violette Retancourt, of the Adamsberg books by Fred Vargas, and Hellequin (one of the many versions of Harlequin), the leader of the Wild Hunt in the greater Normandy region of France.

  53. blf says

    -2 FFF

    Sunny today, weather report indicates it got up to around 16°C, Mediterranean Sea calm and azure, a few yachts out sailing, the main hint that it’s winter being the occasional light puff of wind(from the Alps) was cold. Several outdoor terraces open for lunch.

  54. says

    Giliell @ 137, no, I don’t have those. I think these laces were for doing friendship bracelets and the like, but I’m not sure. The black hat has arrived!

    A trip to the zoo, with bonus sunset

    Oh, the photo of the owl! Oh, so poignant. And that sunset! That looks to have been a wonderful day.

  55. chigau (違う) says

    google this
    michael jackson movie joseph fiennes
    (sorry. I can’t seem to make links to google search results)