Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For a rare moment here, Folderol talks about current religious issues. People of a certain age may remember the Saturday Night Live episode in which Sinead O'Connor ripped up a photo of the Pope. Eighteen years later (yikes), she writes about the current situation in the Irish Catholic Church, and what needs to be done. Slate has an article on the effect of Catholic nuns on the recent healthcare bill, and what the future holds for the convents. And, in perhaps unfortunate timing, the Vatican has debuted a panoramic gallery of the Sistine Chapel online. There's an odd juxtaposition between the beauty and the ugliness of the insitution of religion going on this Holy Week.

Speaking of ancient institutions, a "snack bar" from the days of ancient Pompeii has just reopened! I agree with those who think the place should serve food prepared as it was back then, too.

For the spooky readers: look, the hand of the Demented Whist Player has been stolen!  And for nature lovers (spooky or not), there is the live Owl Cam. Watch Molly the mother owl care for her owlets. While I was watching, she ate a mouse. Yum!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oy, computer problems abound today. (In related news, I owe a lot of people email.) Let's see if this rewritten entry will post. Suspense!

Can science and art coexist gracefully? Isn't that what steampunk is all about, to many of us?

Have you considered a steampunk tattoo? There are some terribly clever ones out there.

The Steampunk Home focuses on the Tuscon restaurant Maynard's, which looks gorgeous.

Jim Tierney has designed beautiful covers for Jules Verne's books, among others. And Tom Banwell is designing and creating all sorts of wonderful things!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Amazing news this Monday: Polaroid is back! The Impossible Project is making it possible!

More amazing artistic stuff: the streets of San Francisco, photographed as if they were flat; Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's avian soundscape (check out the bird trying to build a nest in an electric guitar); and the weird, wonderful world of Godzilla haiku.

An amazing set on Flickr features passport photos of famous artists and writers. If you like the set, be sure to check out the rest of the passport photo collection.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Friday, everyone!

From Julie: new ancient humans (not an oxymoron)! Also, Christie's is going to auction off "The Arcana Collection: Exceptional Illuminated Manuscripts And Incunabula" in July. It's worth it for the title alone, I think.

From Danny: a slideshow of obsolete jobs!

From Bill: behold, the Aetheric Message Machine Company, Ltd. shows what can be done with a Model 15 Teletype! They were at the steampunk convention last week, too.

From Cassandra, some questions: What happened to the old Baltimore-area amusement parks?  Is nostalgia a disorder?  And why are all the bloggers male? (Um. Well. Is there a place one signs up for these sorts of memos? Because I've never gotten any of them!)

And finally, via my workplace: consider Earth Hour tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. local time. Turn off the lights and, I don't know, conduct blind taste tests or stalk raccoons or something. At any rate, have a spiffy weekend! Back on Monday.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Congrats to the 2010 Movers and Shakers of the library world!

That being said, a ton more libraries are in trouble across the country. One of them is the Los Angeles Public Library; see the website here.

Elsewhere in California, the Contra Costa County public library system features "library-a-go-go" vending machines on BART routes, which is a brilliant idea.

Behold the amazing Book of Hours from the Speed Art Museum in Kentucky.

Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? Now there's a Twitter version! (My adventure ended abruptly. I was never any good at these.)

Do you have an envelope? Would you like one?

And finally, a gift idea for everyone who has to deal with storytime, either on or off the job.

Tomorrow brings links from others!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Festival season is gearing up already! Who needs spring weather? Well, okay, it would help in some cases, like the Smithsonian Kite Festival taking place this weekend around the Washington Monument, or the 2010 World Pooh Sticks Championship going on in Oxfordshire. Farther south, Tattoofest is happening in Tampa Bay, and the annual Tenessee Williams Literary Festival gets going in New Orleans.

The Tokyo International Anime Fair doesn't need nice weather, because everyone will be happily indoors watching anime. So there's that, at least.

If you are inside and more interested in spooky goings-on, you could sign up for the Koestler Parapsychology Unit's online course in parapsychology! It starts in April, so you still have time. Alternatively, you could just color in some cryptids. (Please note that the Loveland Frog is included among the cryptids. My hometown is famous. Sort of.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Well, I went away for a week and all sorts of exciting stuff happened in the steampunk world. The Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition seems to have gone off splendidly, a steampunk wheelchair worthy of Professor Xavier rolled all over the web, and the Book Smugglers devoted an entire week to steampunk books!

The Art of Manliness has a wonderful list of slang from the 19th century, for those of you looking to enliven your language.

And now, a look at global steampunk-esque happenings. Luc Besson is making a film about Adèle Blanc-Sec! The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is scheduled to premiere in April. See one of the trailers here!

"Virtuoso is an alternate history of an Africa that never existed, one run by steel and springs, commanded by vast matriarchies and past the height of its culture." That is why you need to go there now and read - here's the first page.

A short silent montage shows how much San Francisco changed when the earthquake struck in 1906. Amazing, and scary.

A gallery of ghost signs has debuted in the UK! Not all date back to Victorian times, but some do!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hi hi, we're back! I owe several people email, and will get on that. For now, it's a catch-up day and that means links from others, sent in over the past week or so -- many thanks, everyone!

From Zazoo: Music video wunderkind Floria Sigismondi wrote and directed the Runaways movie. Whee!

From Julie: a three-dimensional invisibility cloak is now reality, and so is a mechanized dog wash in Japan!

From Cassandra: science owes a lot to youth, ibogaine may actually stop addiction, SETI is still looking for extraterrestial life, and an essay-in-progress over at Reality Sandwich asserts, among other things, that "to put it bluntly, much of our technology is ecologically and spiritually stupid."

Thanks again to all, and please note that the RSS feed has changed! The Feedburner button on the left should subscribe to the new feed. (Progress, it is difficult at times.)
Final cleaning note (for now): the feed link on the left has been updated, for all your RSS needs!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hey, look at that, it worked! We are now live at This concludes Round 1 of Spring Cleaning! Regular posting will resume shortly!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This blog has moved

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Next up: the FTP migration. The URL will probably change and the RSS feed may change and the earth may be torn asunder. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It is Friday! And what's more, it is the last day before the Spooky Librarians take some time off to clean up the place (both online and in the outside world) and get ready for spring. Postings next week will be erratic, and the layout may change around a bit, but the schedule will go back to normal March 22.

On to the links from others!

From Holly: Squirrels with coconut helmets! We are so tempted to try something similar at our place. Also from Holly, more squirrel goodness in the form of a roller coaster-loving critter.

Zazoo reports that the Club Creatures are going to see Stuffed and Unstrung this weekend, in which Henson puppeteers are let loose to say and do all sorts of outrageous things. I am envious, and think anyone near New York should check it out.

From Cassandra: Why can't we all live off the grid, and become experts on our favorite bugs, and visit ethically friendly places?  Well? Why not?

From Matt Staggs: the most awkward PSAs by our childhood friends. I had no idea She-Ra was concerned about this sort of thing.

And finally, we leave you with a happy video by Noah and the Whale. Have a spiffy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Did you know the entire archives of Popular Science are now online? Get ready to lose a few hours of your time!

Jennie Law talks about the mysteries of cataloging...particularly in the world of law firms, where cataloging doesn't really matter to attorneys and outdated lawbooks absolutely need to be discarded rather than preserved. Along those lines, however, those outdated lawbooks can make some pretty spiffy bookbags!  (More information is available at the crafty librarian's website.)

I think I've posted something about the smell of old books before, but it's worth mentioning again.

What does the future hold for British libraries? (My flip answer: who knows?)

A new weblog has arrived, exploring the world of libraries and transliteracy. Go have a look!

Links from others tomorrow, and they are good ones, so check back.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Editorial note: I've added Google Friend Connect to the bottom of the left column. The slow yet inexorable Googlefication of my online presence continues...

Amateur cartographers, listen up: Londonist wants your hand-drawn maps of the city! They can be as detailed or as rudimentary as you like.

More UK news: the Crufts Dog Show is huge and happening right now. Also going on this weekend: the Calle Ocho celebration in Miami's Little Havana district, the annual Ostrich Festival in Arizona, and about a thousand St. Patrick's Day parades in cities all over the world.

If China has its way, we might be able to travel from London to Beijing in two days via highspeed rail. Yes! This would be fantastic!

And for those who come for the spooky on Wednesdays and not the travel: here's a list of unconventional ways to live on after your death. I am intrigued by the pencil concept.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Look, a whole list of steampunk recommendations from Library Journal! This is the perfect Steampunk Librarian link!

Vancouver has been in the news a lot for the Olympics, and some lovely things have turned up, such as this collection of vintage ads and this post on the steam clock (powered via the steam tunnels!) in Gastown.

Atlas Obscura, the source of that last link, is celebrating Obscura Day on March 20. Join the festivities! (There is no Ohio group yet; we need to fix that.)

Some gorgeous behind-the-scenes photos show Fritz Lang at work on his films, including Metropolis. The set design is amazing.

Would you like to go to Crawler Town? It's a traveling eco-punk community! With origins in steampunk! Sadly, it only exists in LEGO format. For now, anyway.

The esteemed Steampunk Scholar discusses the various tribes that could (theoretically) make up the steampunk community. The full article is available in PDF. I believe I fall into the "Browncoat Timelord" category myself, which means I am a generalist, but friendly!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Happy International Womens Day!

There was a nice tribute to John Hughes by the Brat Pack last night at the Oscars, for you fellow Generation Xers.

Robert T. McCall, NASA artist extraordinaire, has died. His space art lives on, however.

By sheer coincidence, today features two weblogs about drawing monsters. Monsters In Real Places shows you just what it promises, while I Draw Monsters depicts the work of  "creating worlds and the curious beings that inhabit them."

The International Center of Photography has a current exhibit on surrealism in photography, which looks fascinating and beautiful. Also fascinating and beautiful: the serpent originally painted around Queen Elizabeth I's wrist in a portrait. It was replaced with flowers, but as the painting has aged, the serpent is coming through. Sounds like the beginning of a great story, doesn't it?

Friday, March 05, 2010

It is Friday! You know what that means: links sent in by others! Many thanks, everyone.

From Julie: the eBay auction for a Derbyshire nuclear bunker ends on Sunday, so act fast!

Also from Julie: the recent earthquake in Chile may have shortened our day by a few microseconds. Would this screw up time travelers? Or spaceships going at warp speed?

From Cassandra: you can take part in a light pollution study which entails looking up at the stars; a dictionary of Old English is in progress, and shows the "violent but charming" nature of the language; and a photograph gallery of India's Holi festival of colors.

From Susan's Facebook: look, book wallpaper! I think some coffeehouse should use this.

As found on Coilhouse, Tokyo's cat cafes are right up my alley. I would like someone to start this in the U.S., please, preferably somewhere close to me!

We end the week with videos. Swiped from Dawnowar: a hilarious parody ad of furniture stores.  Swiped from Glenn at Maniacal Hooting, a video by OK Go which may be the best Rube Goldberg device setup of all time. This is one amazing piece of filmmaking!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you Monday!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Okay, I know I was not paying too much attention to a lot of stuff last month, but how did I miss the penny redesign announcement? A permanent redesign! Of the penny! Where is my mind?

The University of Michigan is, at long last, getting rid of its card catalogs. I do miss the old catalogs, especially when the computers go all wonky.

Other stuff I miss: video arcades! But fear not, there's a movement afoot to preserve the old games, at least. Also preserved: Chicago television broadcasting of yesteryear, thanks to the efforts of

Hooray, Shelf Check is back! You can add your own patron-based acronyms to the list in the latest strip. I think law librarians could make up several appropriate names.

Tomorrow: links from others, hooray!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

This weekend brings you Art on Ice (in Switzerland) and Frozen Dead Guy Days (in America)! Spring really is coming some day. Really.

Next weekend brings the illumination of Hadrian's Wall, which looks amazing and commemorates 1600 years since the end of Roman Britain. I can't wait to see photos.

Back in the United States, the Smalls Street Sounds project wants you to contribute to an aural history of your city. Upload the sounds of your town!

MapEnvelope puts a GoogleMaps location as a return address. Good idea for invitations!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Smart Set, a website I love, takes a look at steampunk!

It may be somewhat dreary outside, but that makes for good steampunkish weather, apparently, as there's a lot going on this month. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibit on Victorian photocollage is now open, for example. Next weekend brings the 2010 Annual Mutter Ball in Philadelphia ("19th-century inspired garb encouraged!") and the Antique Science & Retro-Tech Swap in Irving, Texas ("World Championship Slide Rule Competition at 2 pm!"). All of these are highly recommended.

And for the futurists: new innovations in hearing aids may mean wearing them on the back teeth, not the ear. (The possibilities for augmented reality are also mentioned. Oooo.)

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Olympics may be over, but the images remain, especially in the Flickr pool.

Also in Flickr fun: Goofy signs!

The National Archvies now has a Flickr account, but they are not allowing any photographs in the rotunda any longer. This is why we can't have nice things, people.

A new book on Emily Dickinson suggests that perhaps she was not the quiet recluse that her posthumous reputation has suggested. Interesting stuff.

On Friday, the Smithsonian opens an exhibit featuring art made in Japanese internment camps between 1942 and 1944. Powerful and beautiful.

And lastly, here is something completely different: solar panels which look like regular roofing tiles. Woo, it's the future!