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November 29, 2021

November 22, 2021
  • At The Sword and the Sandwich, Talia Lavin on the Antivaxx Holocaust -- vaccine protests, yellow stars, and an inoculation of historical reality.

  • Checking in on Messy Nessy periodically, in order to review her weekly (?) "13 Things Found on the Internet Today" but she also posts stuff like In the Grand Scheme of Things which is just a set of random, interesting photos.

  • At This is Colossal, Jon Foreman's Ephemeral Compositions of sand and stones.

November 14, 2021

November 8, 2021
The only overt anti-vaxxer I know personally is the Swiss Miss. We argue about Covid defenses on Facebook where she posts furious walls of Deutsch which I feed into the Google Translator in order to occasionally respond, in kind. Zum Beispiel, "Das ist ein verdammtes Verbrechen was hier passiert. Es kommt jetzt die 3. dann die 4. Impfung und die Menschen haben alle den Verstand verloren." (Note the translator converts 'verdammtes' into bloody.) My reaction to this was "Ich habe meine 3. Impfung hatte, und ich habe nicht den Verstand verloren." (I've had my third shot and I haven't lost my mind.) Or have I?

October 18, 2021

August 25, 2021
flag of the Spanish Republic (1931-1939)
If like me you're into Vexillology this flag might be familiar, except for that lower, purple bar. It's the Spanish Republic, which lost their Civil War to the Falangists (better known elsewhere as Fascists), a stuggle which continued into WWII, and really, up to the present day. On the one side, the land-owners, management, the bankers, the Church, the country-folk, and the military; on the other, the factory or office workers and trade unionists, the artists (and lovers of pretty things), the scientists and those cosmopolitan intellectuals.

Speaking of, Over-Explained Lists put together State Flags, Ranked, which annoyed some. One random comment: How do you rank so many phoned-in 'State Seal on a Blue field' flags above some objectively great flags DC's, coming in at only #41. Although they don't address our states, more valid flag criticism is found at, where you can sort their list by their score (based on attributes like Hurts My Eyes, Too Many Stars and Makes Me Nauseous) as well as alphabetically. I remember reading somewhere that brown is such an unpopular color, no country uses it in their flag. Parsing the list, seems like about ten may have some brown, but maybe that's just browser color-rendering issues -‌- looking elsewhere, I see the former Soviet state of Georgia's described as crimson, and Qatar's as maroon (or sun-faded red). Zambia seems to be the exception that proves the rule. State flags don't obey it, however; the prime example being California's brown bear. One other, unrelated similarity: doesn't Somalia's looks like a faded Bonnie Blue?

Alec did a whole Technology Connections on the color Brown, but his focus is the visual; no mention of the mythical Brown Note.

August 1, 2021
A couple sticker-tags spotted around the neighborhood.
The photo doesn't do the first one justice -- it's printed on holographic rainbow foil.

June 11, 2021
  • A couple amazing animations: Shehr e Tabassum depicts a future Pakistan; and the Gibsonian Salad Mug which allegedly took Ian Hubert three years, to make.

  • Charles Schulz' rare Hagemeyer Peanuts. That's Lucy, as an adult?

  • Yoon Hyup makes night-time pointillist pictures. Nowadays, I think we'd call those points pixels, and Yoon uses big ones.

  • Chaojang Trap posts dense explorations into 'Chinese niches'. The link is to their latest, #7, about elderly street fashion of Shanghai; and how Wikipedia entries about small towns on the Mainland are weird.

  • Electronic music, streaming -- Sovietwave Radio.

first waffle in reconditioned stove-top iron
Working now, but imparts a rank taste to the waffles, alas

May 21, 2021
I'm restoring my mother's century-old stove-top Griswold waffle iron. The focus of most guides to restoring cast iron is rust, but my problem's with over-enthusiastic seasoning, which leads to baked-on crud, which must then be meticulously scraped off. This process reminds me of the dentist, and the long hours being worked over in the Chair of Agony as the dental hygienist scrapes the tartar off the enamal under my gums. Her traditional tool for this is the scaler, or plaque scraper, and I do have one of those (even as the switch to ultrasonics is greatly appreciated) but I'm getting better results with the tip of a new, flat-blade screwdriver.

April 9, 2021

March 18, 2021

February 12, 2021

January 3, 2021
Holiday housekeeping -- cleaned up my earliest web effort, my online journal What I Do? from 1998. I'd downloaded it all just before Yahoo killed GeoCities, but there were gaps I managed to fill in with assistance from's WayBack Machine.

December 24, the Night Before Christmas
  • Earlier in the epidemic, back in July, we got (and here's something similar, for random forest sound samples from around the world: but we've just now received the ultimate gift for the armchair traveler: Choose your via: Car, Rail, Bike,* Walking; or even Beach, Urban or Historic, and away you go! Seems frustrating since you can't pause and there's no backing up, but you can get the general location by dwelling lower-right (and you can click on the title down there to jump to the source).
        * realizing the dream of every stationary cyclist

December 19, 2020
Happy Holidays!

October 31, 2020   Happy Halloween!

October 23, 2020
This powerful, peculiar Édith Piaf song I've been thinking of incorrectly as The Chapel in the Moonlight was actually a hit in English, for The Browns, called Three Bells in 1959. Surely I'm not the first to notice a resemblance?

October 2, 2020
"Here's something special - a new structural principle."
my dodecahedronmy dodecahedron lampshade

Been making icosahedra since grade school, with plastic straws and string. Recently I've been making dodecahedra with toilet paper rolls, those tubes which are usually discarded. Toiletpaperfullerenes and Charmin Nanotubes suggests cutting 30° loop-strips from the flattened tubes and using interlocking triplets of these elements to form the vertices of pentagons and hexagons. Points to a Tweet with detailed instructions for building your own dodecahedron. Challenge! Four rolls should be enough. On the right, the low-watt lampshade I made by nesting one inside another... its brown paper media looks like something from Muji. Saved 'em up (paper towel tubes work as well) and made a second-degree Buckyball (AKA a socccer ball) but I really like the simplicity of the dodecahedron. Also, just learned of Roman Dodecahedra -- according to Mental Floss, Mysterious Bronze Objects that've Baffled Archaeologists for Centuries, until recently. The Roman form has knobs at the vertices, for knitting gloves? I can understand the fingers, or toes for toe-socks, after watching this, but not a whole glove. Desiring one to play around with, looks like my only option is a local 3D printer, using the necessary .STL file, which I found at Thingiverse.

August 8, 2020 (updated)
  • At Decopix, The Story of Vitrolite.

  • Nicholson Baker, author of The Mezzanine and many others, in the Columbia Journalism Review -- YouTube's Psychic Wounds. I understand he's quite active on Wikipedia, where I've 'upped my game' as well -- behold, my first article: Muscle Beach, the 1959 novel which, in its "Don't Make Waves" form, I first read on the bus to Philmont, in 1968. So many things, almost everything has a Wikipedia page now, and they'd made this book into a movie starring Tony Curtis (trailer) which has a page, but somehow one for the novel was missing. Since it was a crucial part of my development, had to step up. And there's requirements, mainly, you must have references, or your article is unacceptable.

  • Another great new video of a classic old song: Eight Days A Week (which they didn't actually play at Shea). Probably from the Ron Howard documentary from 2016.

  • At Spoon & Tamago, wonderfully blue&white summer-y Illustrations by Rei Kato. (Update: that gallery shrank to just one pic but you can follow a link there to a Twitter feed)

July 26, 2020
Insect Love
This ball of insect fell out of the sky yesterday, landing at my feet as I sat on a park bench. Eventually I realized they were June bugs, mating. Unlike humans, their passions weren't vigorous, but eventually she crawled away, leaving him motionless, possibly dead (if they're like honeybees).

June 17, 2020
Where should we put this?
There's nervous conjecture about voting this Fall, and rightly so. Columns like Trump Can't Just Refuse to Leave Office at Slate and Here's the Real Danger if he loses the 2020 Election at CNN provoke daydreams of his forced ejection, and remind me of a famous news photo from 1944, of the ouster of the CEO of Montgomery Wards, who didn't agree with FDR's wartime demands. Since nobody else seems to be accepting the challenge I was compelled to fire up my old Win98 laptop with its ancient but still operational Photoshop and give it a go -- click for my bigger, uncropped image, and feel free to pass it around.

May 20, 2020

April 3, 2020

March 27, 2020

March 23, 2020
Reports of hoarding and empty shelves in the shops -- it's like Y2K; grateful that TEOTWAWKI crisis was postponed for 20 years. Forced to stay at home, awaiting the inevitable plague, required reading is Poe's Masque of the Red Death since we're all part Prince Prospero now.

March 7, 2020
A global epidemic has been predicted for years; looks like it's finally arrived. Don't think anything will prevent most of us from getting sick, and not all of us will make it to the other side but I hope to see you there.

early February 2020 (reconstructed)


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Last cinema visits:
(remember the movies?)
"Ad Astra"
"The Farewell"
Current reading: A World At Arms by Gerhard Weinberg, Belonging by Nora Krug and The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

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