Thursday, January 31, 2008

I often go on about how library school should teach classes in basic social work, ergonomics, and martial arts. The Annoyed Librarian has some more ideas on what could be taught, and the commenters have some brilliant additions to the list.

Meanwhile, the Library of Congress has discovered that it's a bad idea to piss off the Scots. Well. I could have told them that.

The people of Toronto are still pro-library. Hooray!

Duke University has started to put its old photographs on Flickr. I hope other universities start doing this, too; I love old yearbooks and this is a close digital equivalent!

Tomorrow: links from others, because it will be Friday, thank the gods.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

First, a remnant from yesterday's steampunk links: modders are building Star Wars steampunk ships! So far the A.T A.T. E.L.E. Walker is my favorite. Thanks, Danny!

And speaking of space...the asteroid did not hit us after all, but a satellite will be crashing shortly, possibly in the U.S. And then there's this possibly alien "hyper-fast star" news... (Thanks to Cassandra and Bunny for the links!)

Meanwhile, down here on Earth, things are as strange as ever. (Impromptu performances of the Thriller dance need to happen much more often, I think.)

Via StrangeMaps, a really interesting view of religion in the U.S. See that tiny pink square of Mennonites in Ohio? I know it well!

And finally, for the spookily inclined: if you haven't checked out Pretty Scary lately, you really should. It's pretty, it's scary, and it's frighteningly well organized!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Today is a little overwhelming, so I'm just going with the theme and providing you with pointers to ridiculously detailed websites. You can spend hours on just one!

The Brass Instruments page at the University of Toronto shows all sorts of measuring devices and things that go ping. The introduction also has a detailed bibliography.

I first tripped over Because We Can due to their steampunk office design, but then I saw their spooky table and chairs and their futuristic deco lobby design and now I'm fascinated with everything they do.

The Royal De Luxe brought you the amazing mechanical elephant in 2006, and there's a Flickr pool full of photos of their breathtaking work.

There's a long article about steampunk in Bizarre Magazine, with illustrations and all.

And lastly, if you're in southern California, try to make it out to see the stage adaptation of H.G. Wells's The Time Machine!

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's the 50th birthday of LEGO! There are all sorts of places celebrating online, but Brothers Brick has one of the best collections of modified LEGO creations.

More popular culture fun: Spiderman in stained glass. The process of creating the piece is shown, too!

Beauty is everywhere, even in parking garages.

You can now vote for the most beautiful cat in Chicago. (Thanks, Holly! But why is Moby not on the list?)

And finally, a look at the top reviewers on Amazon. How do they do it, exactly?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Today: links from others! Well, actually, links from Cassandra. Many thanks to her!

Whole Foods Market has committed to eliminating all plastic bags from their stores by Earth Day 2008. Hooray for them!

And finally, many of you have read Rob's journal for years, and followed Schuyler's story as she's been growing up. Now Schuyler's doing her own interviews as Rob's book on her is coming out. How awesome is that? (I want a magic wand, too.)

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy news for readers: the Atlantic Monthly's articles are freely available now! Hooray!

Silly library site: Dress up a (female) librarian. I like her original outfit, actually.

If you liked the Flickr-Library of Congress photograph collaboration, you will also probably like the Soldier Portraits project going on in Savannah. The photos are beautiful, and the handwritten details are wonderful. Any soldier can participate, too.

More election 2008 fun: get a wide variety of opinions and facts at Electicker.

For those of us who like to make and/or critique lists: Listography is a gold mine and an inspiration.

Links from others tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm not usually too shocked by celebrity deaths, but Heath Ledger's really surprised me. It's a sad loss.

It seems pretty morbid to go into spooky links right after that, so we'll ease into it with some friendly cryptozoology news: if you're tall, live near Vancouver, and want to play the part of Quatchi the Sasquatch mascot during the Olympics, here's your chance! If you are short and live nowhere near Vancouver, like me, you may have to settle for making a cute little yeti out of paper.

If birds are more your things than sasquatches (sasquatchi?), you can now craft the birds seen in Hieronymous Bosch's paintings. I love the letter bird. There are also instructions on how to make a skull, which looks terribly difficult.

And speaking of bones and the like (see, I told you this was going to be a little morbid), I give you two women who are amazingly talented artisans. Polly Van Der Glas makes jewelry from hair, teeth and bones; Sarina Brewer does custom taxidermy and looks gorgeous while doing it, judging from her website.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Despite the controversy last year, the mysterious visitor to Poe's grave made his/her annual pilgrimage over the weekend. Hooray!

Artist Cal Lane makes amazingly intricate lace designs out of steel. Yes. It's beautiful.

Another artist, Stephen Rothwell, shows how to do a really bang-up job of a spooky, steamy website portfolio. Wow. I'm in awe. I especially love the photo on the Inquiries page!

Jake Von Slatt is at it again - this time, it's a steampunk car project. The car is from 1929 and looks gorgeous already - I can't wait to see what happens to it.

In today's world, you can't really get away with hidden weaponry. That's a shame, because I love the idea of a pocketwatch pistol! I also like the jailer key. And the crucifix.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Friday, and that means links from others and some leftovers, too!

From Dawnowar: The majesty of Puppetowar. There really needs to be an all-puppet metal band.

From Cassandra: A man gets five years in prison for a "tree massacre." That might seem extreme, but when you read about the letter threatening militia action, he sounds awfully unstable.

The London Underground is just like the Tree of Life. No, really it is! A bigger view shows all the connections.

You've always wished you could somehow translate that speech or that poem into nightingale song, haven't you? Well, now you can!

The LP Portraits group on Flickr is hilarious. In college we tried similar photos. Maybe we should dig them up and post them.

ForeverRetro is a magazine so retro, it's available in print! For the children of the '70s and '80s, this is a great read.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Tuesday (we have Monday off).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thanks for all the good wishes, everyone! It was a nice birthday.

This announcement from the Library of Congress is just plain awesome - a collaboration with Flickr to create Flickr Commons. It's archival processing and description work by the people, for the people. Hooray!

Another interesting technology: the New York Times is trying out all sorts of interactive formats for their 2008 election coverage. I especially like the names application, which shows you who's talking about whom amidst the candidates. It looks fairly traceable until you go to Clinton, and then it's a huge skein of connections.

The PreWarCar site is a treasure trove for antique car lovers (and possibly steampunks).

Midomi is the latest music site that promises to find the name of that song you can't remember; you can sing or hum the tune and it'll allegedly recognize what you want. (Has anyone tried any of these sites? Do they work?) Once you figure out who sang the song, you can write letters to them, a la the McSweeney's Popsong Correspondence. (I've linked to Axl Rose's letter, but here's the whole list. Good stuff. I especially like the letter from one of the kids living in Madness's "Our House.")

And lastly, here's a wonderful librarian weblog all about weird and wacky book covers. We just went to a library booksale and spent an inordinate amount of time showing each other terrible book covers, so this weblog is right up our alley!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Today's my birthday! I'm taking the day off to celebrate. In the meantime, here are some hilarious Olan Mills portraits (because my yearbooks are starting to look really entertaining) and the most popular baby names of 2007. (My name is nowhere near the top 100. When that retro naming craze hits the 1930s, though, look out!)

There will be some goofy photos on Flickr soon. Back to regular posting tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Forbes has made a list of the "most wired" cities in the country, and look, Cincinnati is #16, above Denver, Phoenix, and even Los Angeles! Wow.

Moving on to steampunk links...

The Smoking Lounge is a new forum for those attracted to steam and diesel matters. It's run by M. Ottens, who once had a similar space on nov-net. Go and mingle!

San Francisco will host the 2008 Edwardian Ball Weekend which kicks off on January 25th. Sigh. I need a pneumatic tube that shoots me to San Francisco every few weeks or so.

Over on the other side of the world, Iberian Coppers makes all sorts of wonderful shiny items for distilling various substances. They're not only beautiful, but useful!

The World of Stereo Views is a staggeringly huge respository of stereoview photographs (over 12,000 of them!) dating back to 1850. You can get lost for hours, which I highly recommend.

Steampunk is always tinged with a bit of mad science (at least to me), so I'm drawn to this Instructable on how to make a mad scientist light. I think it would be even better if you built an animatronic hand to manipulate the light, and you could wear one of these shirts while creating your contraptions. Lovely!

Monday, January 14, 2008

If it's Monday (and it is), that means it's time to break out the arts & literature links...

Simone de Beauvoir would have turned 100 last week, so there's been a lot of discussion about her and her work.

The Guardian lists the ten most beautiful bookstores in the world, and I've only been to one of them. I need to work on that.

Forget about dancing angels; you can now fit the entire Old Testament on the head of a pin! For more religious (or sacreligious) imagery, Isabel Samaras does lovely work which combines horror and religious icons. I particularly like the one of Frankenstein's monster gardening at night.

Artists Against the War is a graphic arts show put on by the Society of Illustrators. If you're not a professional artist, you can still create your own interpretation of the peace symbol and send it to the good folks at Happy Birthday Peace, where they're celebrating the 50th birthday of the symbol.

And lastly, just for fun: the GOP primary candidates as villains from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Mitt Romney comparison is especially apt and creepy!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Many thanks to Mr. Butch R. Cleaver for taking over the posting duties yesterday! (Cassandra thinks he should have his own weblog. If you agree, please let him know!)

On to links from others. Swiped from Dawnowar: the bad sweater guy weblog.

Cassandra brings a worldwide selection of links! In Mexico, a kid glued himself to his bed because he didn't want to go to school. In England, GPS units are directing truck drivers into predicaments. In Amsterdam, the authorities are cracking down on marijuana use. Oh, and the Baby New Year was found abandoned on the street. At least space is still pretty.

I leave you on a positive note at the end of this not-so-positive week: at least we live in a world where a penguin can win military honors. I suspect the penguin is smarter than some of the humans.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Well hello friends,

Butch R. Cleaver of Meet Cleaver Theatre here…I’ve been asked to relieve one lovely, spooky librarian chick of her blogging duties today, so you know you’re in for a freaky treat. We’re blogging, midway-style!

Let’s start off with a disturbing photo-log featuring a poor chap from China having surgery to remove a 22 lb tumor from his face. How’s that for a shocking open! And please internet denizens, DIGGers and Twitter-zens, no “image was photoshopped” comments…

Here’s a link if you’d like to be on the cutting edge of online image alteration: Smashing Magazine's latest collection of hot photoshop tutorials.

Our next attraction on the oddities of the web is a small collection of performances from a lovely immigrant from Poland, Monika Bukowska…resplendent in her day-glo costume jewelry and hopping wildly. Who could turn down away from a song title like “The Sky is Full of Teeth”? Only squares, in my opinion.

And on stage two is a little known group from Minneapolis known as “Gay Beast,” a gang of lads hoping to “make gay-political music more ambitious”. Check out their website and decide for yourself!

From music to video we move on to our third attraction, the obscure but highly enjoyable role-playing cheese known as Dungeon Majesty! A public access style program from a group of former MTV employees…. Follow the adventures of four voluptuous female warriors and their nerd-tastic “dungeon master” as they roll for damage and seek out the elusive “natural 20”.

And let’s end on a bizarre note, shall we? I leave you with “Willow Don’t Cry” …a strange rap song/video about the movie “Willow” featuring a cast of characters that would make John Waters blush.

We now return you to your mediocre work day already in progress……

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

And how has YOUR day been?

(We are fine, although a little discombobulated. Updates will be a little later than usual today.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Links a-plenty for the steampunks in the audience today! If you're not so inclined, here's something political, yet fun: make the candidates fight each other, a la Mortal Kombat. Pow!

On to steampunk, which is getting more and more popular - and, as a result, more expensive. For instance, a "vintage" iPod charger looks very cool, but is $800. Yikes!

Then again, there are tentacled chandeliers out there, which are also wildly expensive but were not created with steampunk specifically in mind. I think they'd look quite lovely in a Nautilus, or a Nautilus-themed room. You could sit in the room and drink espresso made by a stunning, spiky-looking machine, or drink absinthe with the help of these intricate spoons. Again, all very expensive, but perhaps an eccentric type could set up one of Tesla's towers and rake in the money.

Fortunately, for the rest of us, there are still thrift stores, junkyards and fantastic little niches like the Mad Salvager! Also, right after my last post wondering what happened, the Victorian Adventure Enthusiast is up and running - quite enthusiastically, too. KineticWorld has appeared back on the scene, and there's also the giant Museum of Retro Technology for inspiration. Don't be afraid to put a little DIY punk into steampunk; it's half the name, after all.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Today, we bring you the arty links, with an emphasis on stuff for kids.

Music: the best new music weblog out there is PopDose, written by a sort of supergroup of pop culture bloggers. While I'm not absolutely certain, I'm pretty sure I went to college with this guy, who wrote a music column in the university paper and shared my love for Book of Love (which is rare, especially in Ohio).

Art: there's a beautiful website on the life and work of Gustav Klimt.

Art and religion: a small gallery of Shaker "visual poetry" is fascinating and looks like something out of a mystery story or an archaeological dig.

Art and kids: the Guardian has a gallery of monsters created by kids. I love this sort of thing.

Kids and literature: Jon Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man and other gems, has been named the first "National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature." He also has a website, GuysRead, which is geared toward getting boys interested in reading. (Hooray!)

Movies: the new Indiana Jones LEGO sets are out already! Woohoo!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Not only is it Links from Others Day, it's Bunny's birthday! Happy birthday to my spooky librarian partner. Love you lots! (It is also the birth date of Isaac Newton, Louis Braille and Michael Stipe, among others. Bunny is in good company.)

From the birthday man himself: a band consisting of a six-year-old and a 13-year-old named The Death Killers. Fun stuff.

From Dawnowar: Awesome sock puppet portraits!

From Cassandra: Cool winking skulls! Strange experiments on stressed-out squirrels! Terrifying statistics on gendercide! The UK's latest debate on legalizing ecstasy!

Also from Cassandra: the sad and surprising news that the Vatican Observatory is to be closed. This ties in somewhat with a link sent in from the Graveworm on alleged exorcism squads that are being formed in Rome. Really? (I know we have at least one priest among Folderol's readership. Send me the scoop!)

Probably sacrilegious, but also nerd-tastic and funny in several places: the LOLcats rewrite the Bible.

And finally, here's the best 60 seconds you will see on the web today. Click on the link, then sit back and wait for a few seconds. It's even better with the sound turned up!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you Monday!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Today is not so much "Library Links Day" as it is "Potentially Useful Resource Links Day." Sometimes librarians are just helpful! However, it's worth noting that LISJobs now has a forum, so anyone interested in library careers should click on over there and join. (Speaking of library jobs, I saw a listing for an "itinerant librarian." I know what they mean, but it conjures up visions of camel-riding librarians in my head.)

How many overused words and phrases did you utter last year? I noticed "it is what it is" cropping up everywhere recently, which bugs me. Does that even mean anything?

It's time for yearly resolutions, and Lifehacker has some tips on getting started. Joe's Goals looks like a particularly good one. If you need a print calendar for these sorts of things, you can make your own online for free!

National Geographic has a huge portion of their map collection available for purchase now, and it's also just fun to browse. They go back to the 1890s!

I am seriously considering using the Bureau of Communication for all my invitations, holidays, and other not-so-personal correspondence this year. You've all been warned!

Tomorrow: lots of great links from others!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's a new year, and the Gawker media empire has a new weblog. This one concentrates on science fiction, and looks promising. Bring on the aliens!

This is also the year of personal spy robots! Well, maybe. I know someone who used to leave sound-activated tape recorders scattered about with the same purpose in mind. A robot seems a bit more conspicuous.

Then again, the FBI is quietly deleting files, so maybe they need a few robots zipping around over there.

More spooky stuff: a weblog details the sightings of big cats in the UK; artist Brian Dettmer makes weirdly lovely "book autopsies" (not recommended for people who get upset when books are cut up or altered); and the Creeplings would like to make friends with you and live in your house, provided you purchase them.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Final Results of the Advent Calendar Competition!

First of all, we want to thank everyone who voted during our goofy Playmobil advent calendar contest. It was a spur-of-the-moment idea, born out of disappointment when we found that these calendars were supposed to be assembled beforehand (I would suggest Playmobil take a hint from LEGO, which has calendars all set to go straight out of the box), and we're very glad that readers went along with this throughout December.

The race ended up surprisingly close, with the two calendars tied until the final week. The Unicorn Paradise put up a good fight - here it is in all its final glory, except for the backdrop (click for the full-size photo).

However, the Knights Duel eked out a win by two votes!

With everything opened by Dec. 25th, we merged the two calendars together, and, not unexpectedly, total chaos broke out.

Animals donned capes and tried to eat each other for lunch.

Kids frolicked in cages while the adults drank themselves silly. (Bunny suggests that you can pretend this is a recreation of Salo: 120 Days of Sodom. Alternatively, you could be reminded of the recent news story of the Cleveland couple who kept their foster kids in cages.)

The parrot went on to a lucrative career in espionage.

A peacock tried to usurp the throne, and was temporarily successful.

An aspiring paladin's skill level in animal husbandry (the most useless of D&D 3.5 skills) skyrocketed, albeit with tragic results.

Male chauvinism broke out...

...and was quickly suppressed.

A young boy discovered his inner diva.

"I can't see a thing in this helmet!"

Thanks again to all, and happy 2008 from the Spooky Librarians!