Monthly Archives: April 2008

Happy Thoughts

Two things (so far) are making me smile today.

I counted 21 goldfinches on and under the bird feeder this morning. That number might be off by one or two either way. It’s hard to count things that keep moving around. Goldfinches are delightful little creatures. I never saw any until we moved here. Almost all the birds I saw in the wild were brown or gray except for an occasional cardinal or blue jay. Only caged birds were bright and colorful so to see a bunch of bright yellow birds free in the wild is one of the great wonders of life.

My irises are blooming. It’s amazing that such perfect, elegant flowers are as easy to grow as weeds. I have several colors. Blooming right now: yellow, burgundy, pure white, white with purple edging, burgundy and cream. Coming soon: deep purple, a peachy pink, a more pink pink, yellow with brown or rust-colored falls, pale lavender with pale gold falls and more purple. I’ll post some pictures in a few days or next week when more of them are blooming.

Random Linkage

Cabinet of Curiosities – a round-up of blogs that specialize in curiosities, many of them historical or scientific.

Brew your own – fuel, that is. (via AMCGLTD)

Interesting and amusing shopping bags (via Bifurcated Rivets)

Clockwork trains and other toys

Most Intricate Lego creations Amazing.

Strange-looking dogs (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Weird, embarrassing jewelry

Space shuttle proposals and ambitious plans that didn’t happen. [sigh] (via dm)

Ode to My Toaster

Jesus and The Neverending Story. Strange and wrong but somehow it almost makes sense.

A great model of Moscow

DOH!

Moodaholic – great photography. Nature, scenic, people, etc.

NASA’s best photographs and more space links

Hah! Where is this place? I want to go try to sell them something in the most annoying way possible.

Abandoned hotels (That’s another one from Neatorama)

Great restaurant sign!

More unique bookshelves. Several I’ve seen before but there are some new ones too. I like the ones that look like they are made of books.

Most Embarrassing Moments in Science Fiction

The Top Seven Most Embarrassing Moments in Science Fiction (via Byzantium’s Shores)

There are only a couple of those I can disagree with. I think. Okay, partly disagree, maybe. I actually sort of liked The Matrix: Reloaded. I didn’t get it but it was still fun. Favorite moment: During the chase one of the twins says, “We are getting aggravated,” and the other responds, “Yes, we are,” all in calm, matter-of-fact tones. That cracks me up every time.

The other thing is number one. Should we really be embarrassed that the real world hasn’t lived up to our fondest dreams? Disappointed, yes, but embarrassed? What exactly are we embarrassed about – that we had those dreams, or that events that we had no control over didn’t turn out like we think they should have? But in a way it is embarrassing. We should at least have had a base on the Moon by 2001.

There’s another one that’s mentioned in the introduction but isn’t actually on the list. I guess it’s not so much an embarrassing moment as an ongoing embarrassment.

…and we even have a channel that shows only Science Fiction (and wrestling…um, wha?)

Yeah, how about that? Well at least it is fiction. Even aside from the wrestling the Sci-Fi Channel overall is rather embarrassing. Have you seen some of the movies that were made especially for the Sci-Fi Channel? And then there’s Ghost Hunters. Sheesh. If it weren’t for Dr. Who, Battlestar Galactica and Stargate: Atlantis they’d have no right to call themselves “The Sci-Fi Channel.

And finally there’s William Shatner. Yes, he’s embarrassing but we love him just the same. In fact we love being embarrassed by him. He’s the embarrassing old uncle of science fiction.

Say What?

“We are in a transition time in history when the only way we can get to where we need to be is by starting from where we are.” — Al Gore

“We didn’t underestimate them. They were
just a lot better than we thought”
— Bobby Robson

“Most cars on our roads have only one occupant, usually the driver.” — Carol Malia, BBC Anchorwoman

“A verbal contract is not worth the paper it’s written on.” — Samuel Goldwyn

“We are sorry to announce that Mr. Albert Brown has been quite unwell, owing to his recent death, and is taking a short holiday to recover.” — Parish Magazine

“We don’t necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people.” — Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC instructor

“I am not going to give you a number for it because it’s not my business to do intelligent work.” — Donald Rumsfeld

“The conviction carries a penalty of one to ten years in Alabama.” — Leo Rosten

“It isn’t pollution that is hurting the environment, it’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.” — Dan Quayle *

“Does the album have any songs you like that aren’t on it?” — Harry News, music reviewer

“Traditionally, most of Australia’s imports come from overseas.” — Keppel Enderbery, former Australian cabinet minister

“If it weren’t for electricity we’d all be watching television by candlelight.” — George Gobel

“”I have opinions of my own –strong opinions– but I don’t always agree with them.” — George Bush

* UPDATE: The quote attributed to Dan Quayle is not authentic.

Cat Is Back

On the one hand, I try to keep music, and other arts, separate from politics even if the artists themselves don’t. But on the other hand, it’s always tempting to hold a grudge, to “punish” someone for decisions we disagree with. On the third hand, if a person shows an inclination to participate in our decadent, capitalistic Western system we should reward them for it because this is how we evil Borg Americans assimilate people from other cultures. On the fourth hand, (and this is the hand that rules) it’s all about the music so just forget about all those other hands.

So far I’ve only listened to the first of the three videos. I like it. (not wild about it, just like it) I’ll probably still call him Cat Stevens though. Not to be mean or politically incorrect or anything like that; the name is just too firmly embedded in my brain.

Quotes From Here and There

Not only is there a market for it, but if the readership of any number of blogs in my feed reader is an indication, the market is not only large but eager and deeply, deeply disturbed.here

Such a beautiful color. English is still poor in vocabulary for such skin. “Black” and “jet” and “ebony” are simply wrong, not red enough; “brown” is hopelessly vague. “Chestnut” is too light. “Chocolate” comes closest, and conveys some of the richness and delight, but it has no dignity. What we want is the black equivalent of “alabaster.” We don’t have it, yet. There’s a sort of reddish obsidian that has that glow and depth, but when you say “obsidian” people think “jet.”there

Sometimes you can look to the past and find mistakes, regrets, good bands, or interestingly arranged old rocks.here

If children’s impressionable minds can be adversely affected by watching too much violence on television, is it also possible that they may be negatively influenced by watching too much happy-ever-after comedy?there

Tashy vs. Trendy

Here’s another one of those decorating ideas that are trashy in Oklahoma but trendy in California or Connecticut. To be fair, the specific setting does make a difference. If you also have some high end stuff and keep your place as neat and clean as a museum you might be able to convince a few people that your garbage dump finds are really “artsy”.

Thanks, Fillyjonk

A Few Artsy Links

I like this, a late 17th century Chinese painting but it looks almost like modern abstract art.

Looking, Walking, Being

Awesome steampunk computer (Yes, of course it’s art!)

Erotic embroidery. Maybe NSFW; the site linked in that post is definitely NSFW but I thought it was too interesting to pass up. Who would have imagined taking this old-fashioned craft and…

Bedroom – the colors in these paintings sort of remind me of old photographs.

Archimboldo – I’ve only seen a few examples of Archimboldo’s strange artwork before. This gallery has 25 paintings and drawings. (via Monster Brains)

Spring Is Calling

There are so many things I should be doing besides sitting here looking for wonderful things on the Internet. It’s a lovely day outside. I should be doing something with actual plants instead of admiring these wonderful botanical illustrations. And I most certainly should not go back to MapJack.com. What a wonderful site. I can’t stop “walking” around San Francisco. It’s not the famous places that attract me the most; it’s the ordinary street views with lots of people. There’s such a you-are-there-ness about it. By the way, Brian Micklethwait linked to MapJack also.

A Few More Blogs

Rob’s Megaphone – a great eclectic blog. Fun stuff, silly signs, random facts, etc. Fun list of silly things in the English language

The Daily Green – environmental news and tips. Not a blog but it’s updated frequently so I’ll throw it in here anyway.

Accelerating Future – science and technology news and occasional sci-fi. I like Transhumanist Buzzword Bingo.

Enthusiasm – all sorts of interesting things on the Web. Definitely a blog to be enthusiastic about.

Anecdotal Evidence – books and life.

Spindles and Spices – crafts, cooking, cats and dogs. I like these photos, especially the first one.

Daffodil Lane – as delightful as its name. Photos, videos and daily links.

Grit in the Gears – another great “miscellaneous stuff” blog. Photos, videos, vintage ads, fun and weird stuff.

Please Pardon the Politics

I have been bouncing back and forth between being highly interested in the race for the Democratic nomination and being bored and impatient with it. I have a few problems with each of the nominees but I like them both better than McCain and right at the moment I’m thinking, “Can we puh-leeease just get this part of it over with?”

I wonder how anyone can take all this sniping seriously. Clinton makes a claim that turns out to be not exactly (or not at all) true and her numbers go down and Obama’s go up. Obama says something that is perceived as “elitist” and his numbers go down and Clinton’s go up. Not to mention that fifteen percent of people polled still believe Obama is Muslim even after the big to-do over his pastor’s remarks. It’s all so silly. Can’t people see that it’s only politics and that it’s about as real as professional wrestling?

At this point I’m still leaning slightly toward Obama, admittedly almost entirely on the basis of personality and perceived integrity. I don’t think they differ a lot on the issues and it would be nice to have a president who is not embarrassing. That’s not to say that Senator Clinton would necessarily be embarrassing as President but I think there would be a high probability of some kind of scandal.

All you folks in Pennsylvania, do your country a favor and vote overwhelmingly for Obama so we can get on with the real contest.

Random Linkage

Latest discoveries on Titan (thanks Scott)

Weird, creepy picture

Mapjack – This is the coolest thing I’ve seen on the Internet all day! Too bad there are only three cities to explore but still… very cool. Can’t quit playing with it. (via Dark Roasted Blend)

An Engineer’s Guide to Cats (via Bifurcated Rivets)

What to do if someone you know is getting too existential

Quotes From Here and There

Much as we would like it to be the case, there is no connection between good character and good art. here

…it is really nothing more than a terminological error to label governments “public” and corporations “private” when it is the latter that often have the strongest incentives to respond to social needs. A company that alienates a community will soon be forced to retreat from it, but the government is always there.there (via)

The human animal constantly searches for new expressions of creativity, which only assures me that we are creators, not mere consumers. What a birthright!here