Thursday, December 31, 2015

And here we are at the end of 2015. Thanks so much for reading and sending in links over the past year!

A programming note: For the first two weeks of January, I have jury duty (for the first time ever). As a result, posts may be sporadic or nonexistent until Jan. 19th. But! Watch this space, because we are trying something new for 2016 – Folderol on YouTube. It’s going to be a series of strange lists, curated by the Spooky Librarians and our friends. We’ll post the first episode here soon, and will then encourage people to subscribe, spread the word, and send in ideas for lists! The regular Folderol will continue on – the video channel is a side project, and we hope it goes well.

For now, celebrate the end of the year, ponder why we sing that weird Scottish song, and, while you’re at it, ponder the mysteries of historical migration (especially in Ireland), as we migrate toward 2016.

Thanks again, everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tomorrow night millions of people will watch the ball drop in Times Square. But why? Turns out that method was an early way of synchronizing watches on the hour in cities. Thanks, NYPL!

If you’re making resolutions for 2016, why not consider participating in the Sketchbook Project? Art is good for you!

The Thinker’s Garden has a great article on Alexandra David-Neel, one of my idols – did you know you can visit her home in Provence? – and Helena Blavatsky.

The French Alps are mostly known for skiing, but you can hunt for crystals, too!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

RIP, Lemmy. There was many a glass raised to you last night!

The most popular names for 2015 are out, and some people are, apparently, naming their children after Instagram filters.

If you’re going to act in a Shakespearian play and your character’s going to die, chances are you’re going to be stabbed. Or perhaps poisoned. Or, perhaps, stabbed AND poisoned. But probably not baked into a pie. (That would be quite the acting challenge, however!)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy post-holiday Monday!

 Did you know that Greece wants to rebuild the Colossus of Rhodes?

It’s time for the annual best-of lists – here’s one for the best books of 2015.

These great photos of New York City in the ‘40s and ‘50s were taken by Frank Larson, and now there’s a website for the photos (I had trouble getting to it this morning, so it may be overloaded).

Atlas Obscura examines the world of universal signage.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

So I’ve been reading a book on underground London (the literal underground tunnels and subways, that is) and found that an enterprising journalist once rode his bicycle through secret tunnels and wrote about it for Christmas. (Then the entryways to the tunnels were “carefully secured” so that other would-be urban adventurers were dissuaded. Bah humbug.)

From Julie: Here’s what Pangea would look like these days, with all the countries and borders. Going to Morocco would be so much easier!

Discovered on Twitter: We Rate Dogs. Have a look, it’s great.

And from Google: Choose what side of the Force to support. Bunny picked the Dark Side (no surprise there); I am on the Light Side because Rey is awesome, and also to bring balance to the Force in our family. Have fun!

Happy holidays, everyone! We’ll be back next week.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Springwise has a list of gift suggestions for the makers in your world. There are some really cool ideas here.

If you’re done with gift shopping and just want to kick back and analyze a movie that isn’t Star Wars, good news! Tom and Lorenzo bring you an in-depth fashion critique of Heathers.

If you’d rather play computer games, more good news! Mateusz Skutnik has given us a new Submachine!

And finally…even though I’m always fascinated by baby names and the way names change throughout history, I think the UK might be in for some seriously weird name combinations if these predictions hold true. (Queenie?)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Solstice, everyone!

For the next two weeks, it’s going to be a grab bag of links around here. Feel free to send in anything you like!

From Julie: Amazing Victorian Christmas cards. I love the one with the mouse riding the lobster (yes, this card, and more, is featured in the article).

Also from Julie: Elves! They’re not the happy harmless helpers you may think they are!

Have you heard of the Kitty Convict project? It’s genius.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Friday!

We have been very carefully staying off social media for the last few days, avoiding any Star Wars conversations. Hopefully we’ll see it this weekend and then we can freely interact with the interwebs again. So links are a little scarce this Friday as we head into the holiday season, but fear not, we’ll be back up to (hyper)speed shortly.

From Satori: America’s Best Doughnuts! I have been to exactly one of these places. Obviously, this situation needs to be rectified.

From Julie: Hooray for yarnbombers, who have knitted adorable holiday-themed woolen mailbox covers for Kent!

We’ll be around through the holidays, although on a slightly erratic schedule. Happy holidays to those going off for vacation/school break/whatever!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

We’re back!

Long ago, the Knights Templar were rumored to protect great treasures. No one’s ever been able to find it, however.

Today, the owner of is hiding $10 million in gold and silver, in case the economy crashes. It’s somewhere in Utah. Maybe.

Meanwhile, the Library of Congress has a complicated off-site storage facility for protecting the country’s historical information.

And in the future, how will we store the sum total of human knowledge? They’re working on that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Today, we look at the future, and then at the past.

 The future is almost here: In Dubai, firefighters are going to use jetpacks to deal with high-rise fires! The Martin Jetpack is providing the technology.

I had not heard of Zofia Rydet before today. At age 67, she decided she was going to photograph the inside of every house in Poland. She didn’t get to everyone, but she created thousands of photos showing an amazing cross-section of Poland in the late twentieth century. Fortunately, many of those photos are now available digitally!

Programming note: Tomorrow is the (final, we hope?) dental surgery day, so we’ll be off, but hopefully back on Thursday. See you then!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Happy Monday!

If you slow down the song of crickets, it sounds eerily like a choir in a cathedral. Listen and see what you think. (Thanks, Bunny!)

There’s a wonderful modernist mural hidden in a mountain in Scotland. No, really!

An artist has recreated the “Shordiche” of Shakespeare’s time.

I see Edith Wharton’s home whenever I visit my relatives in the Berkshires, but I had no idea that ghost tours are held there!

Friday, December 11, 2015

And here we are, Friday again. (I’ve been confused all week as to what day it is.)

If you like collaborative projects, and you like Shakespeare, then Shakespeare’s World is probably right up your Elizabethan alley. That sounds vaguely impolite, doesn’t it?

From Cassandra: Let’s talk about demagoguery! It’s fun!

Via David Lynch on Twitter: Forget the demagogues, let’s try meditation. Some scientists think it could change the world.

Via Jonathan L. Howard on Twitter: Did you know there’s a building in Manchester that screams? It’s true! No information is available on the building's attitude toward meditation, demagoguery, or Shakespeare.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

We’re back! And it’s a busy catching-up sort of day.

The Washington Post is moving and the old building is being torn down. Many past and present journalists are writing on the walls before they fall to the wrecking ball. 

More links as I get more time. In the meantime, enjoy this most excellent video!


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

An update, because you really have to see this. From Tracy: Behold Sam Barsky's sweaters, which he knits and then wears to the places depicted on said sweater! (Thanks, Tracy!)
World AIDS Day. December 1. 

This half of the Spooky Librarians is off to New York! I’ll be back late next week. In the meantime, I recommend checking out Weird Fiction Review and MondoHeather, two wonderful websites.

Does anyone else remember the Great Women card game? I learned so much history from this game! (And yes, it was played like rummy.)

From Cassandra: “Strange maps for strange times.”

Have a spiffy week/weekend/week, everyone! See you soon.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Cyber Monday! Everything here is running verrrry sloooow, possibly as a result. More links may appear later, depending on the interwebs.

If you're looking for some art, why not consider Artlifting, which specializes in art made by homeless and disabled individuals? There's some seriously gorgeous work here.

In order to properly get in the spirit, some kind soul has uploaded a collection of in-store music from Kmart, circa 1989. Memories!

Abderdeenshire, Scotland will be the home of the first floating wind farm. The future, it inches even closer...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so it’s basically a Friday around here. Happy holidays to everyone!

From Holly: German schoolchildren perform Kraftwerk, in robot costumes, and it’s as awesome as you’d expect.

XKCD gives us a game, with coins and hoverboard. I mean, what more can you ask for?

Have a spiffy weekend, and we’ll see you next week. It’ll be another short week, though, because…well, I’ll tell you next week!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How is it that I have not found Spitalfields Life before now? Look at these gorgeous 1930s photos of London by night, and visit a pyrotechnics collector, and so, so much more.

Jules Verne mentioned Cincinnati’s observatory in several of his works. Who knew?

Looking at Girl Scout catalogs through the decades is an interesting cultural journey. (I kind of want a sunwatch now.)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday arty links, as per usual!

Music: Did you know Enya lives in a castle named Manderley? It’s true!

Film: You can customize your Google apps to reflect your Jedi or Sith leanings.

Photography: The Tampa Bay Times has its own photography weblog. 

History: Card catalogs aren’t dead yet! The Metropolitan Museum of Art still uses them, and they’re invaluable.

 Literature: Aldous Huxley was a fascinating man, beyond his Brave New World.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy Friday! Thanksgiving comes a week early here, with a cornucopia of links. Many thanks to everyone!

From Cassandra: How kids learn the concept of fairness, and whether there’s a “death hierarchy” in news today.

From a friend via Facebook: Calvin and Hobbes debuted thirty years ago this week, and there’s a lot of lessons we can still learn from them. 

From Holly: “A chance for grown men to relive their childhood in what comes off really as being rather creepy.” Hee.

From Julie: Watch six million years of evolution in sixty seconds! Also, it turns out that Winnie-the-Pooh was based on a real black bear named Winnie. Also also, someone found a trunk full of undelivered mail, and I’m so envious.

From Twitter: Cards Against Humanity players, rejoice: there’s a new fantasy themed pack, with cards written by real live authors!

From Zazoo: “The Muppets pitch a new show, and it's hiliarious!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Information, both historical and future, is the theme today.

In chronological order (more or less):

Behold the wonderful Nautical Telegraph Code Book And Postal Guide from 1920! This would make for a great code, even today.

How well do you know your World Wars? Take this quiz and find out. (I got 15/20. Names of battles elude me.)

I’d forgotten that the New York Times has a site for their Research and Development Group. I don’t think I ever knew they had a weblog, and this entry on the future of information is fascinating.

The Wayback Machine is getting a search engine, at long last! Not until 2017, however.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I never thought to look for old-time hellfire-and-brimstone Christian materials online, but oh boy, is there a bunch out there. Old Time Religion focuses on the printed materials, while Christian Nightmares is all over the place. Have fun, kids!

If you prefer snow globes to Christian tracts, Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz have made some wonderfully odd (and sometimes creepy) creations. 

If you’d rather go the literary route, there’s a hotel in London with a few Harry Potter-themed rooms, amidst the ones for muggles.

And if you’d just rather not state your beliefs too loudly in public these days, fear not, Nuanced Stickers are here for you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gizmodo and PaleoFuture are celebrating Secret History Week, apparently. I say “apparently” because there’s not much there yet. Maybe it’s secret and you have to go searching for it.

In other secret history, I discovered there was a Voice of Nuclear Disarmament pirate radio broadcast in Great Britain!

The good people of Bartitsu have found a wonderful book from 1935, and are showing the entry on self-defense. Protect yourself from miscreants trying to jump on the running board of your car! They're sneaky! And agile!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Bataclan is such a beautiful building. It’s horrible that it’s now the site of tragedy.

 * * *

I’m always amazed that we’re still finding lost works from artists and writers. An unpublished Charlotte Bronte work has been found!

English is a crazy language. This isn’t news, but Aeon goes into some more detail.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy Friday the 13th! It’s the third one this year.

From Julie: Scientists have discovered “hot spots” within Egyptian pyramids. Cue the conspiracy theorists!

From Cassandra: In the “incredibly brave doctors” department, a neurosurgeon had electrodes implanted in his brain to test a theory. 

From Charon via Twitter: Extreme bagpiping! Penguin story included!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hello! I forgot that yesterday was yet another dental adventure for the other half of the Spooky Librarians, so I was busy elsewhere. (We’re almost done, hooray.)

Meanwhile, the Witch of November is visiting our area. If you now have “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” playing in your head, you can thank me.

The Washington Post takes a look at the language the U.S. Census has used for different races over the decades. 

Richard Scarry also changed with the years; he altered his books as time went on to reflect the modern world.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This morning, I learned about Illig’s phantom time hypothesis, which posits that most of the Middle Ages didn’t exist. Wow. Down the rabbit hole I go!

I also learned that Jacob Riis, photographer and muckraker extraordinaire (and also subject of a current exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York) had a somewhat odd love story with his first wife. You never hear anything about Elisabeth Riis; I’d love to know her story.

A time capsule from the 1950s includes some movie footage from administrators at a mental hospital, talking about their ideas for future advances. Frustratingly, the film is damaged, so a lot has been lost. Argh!

And finally, if you haven’t checked out MRX Designs, you should – from Lovecraft photocreations to phonograph reproductions, there’s a wealth of information and ideas there.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Happy birthday to Hedy Lamarr! 

Good news for modern-day American time travelers: If you go to Tudor-era England, your names will fit right in, apparently. Here’s the list of most popular names for boys and for girls. 

What to do with the shopping malls of yesteryear? Well, there are some pretty amazing ideas out there.

Friday, November 06, 2015

And it’s Friday again! Many thanks to everyone who sent in links.

From a co-worker: Examining the myths and truths of being left-handed. I learned I should ask for a raise.

From Julie: “Europe's Oldest Tree is Undergoing a Sex Change.” (It’s true!)

From Bunny: There’s a Japanese trailer for the new Star Wars movie, and it’s different than the English version, and it’s awesome.

From Holly: Go dancing! It’s good for you! 

From Cassandra: The University of People is helping undocumented students, hooray.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Happy Fifth of November. (For once, the comments are really interesting!)

The World Series is over, but the battle of the librarians is worth a read if you missed it originally. (This sort of thing is more difficult if one works in a law library. Not impossible, mind you, but difficult.)

Speaking of law libraries, tomorrow is apparently “Love a Lawyer Day.” You’ve been warned.

James Bond runs into all sorts of occupational hazards. The CDC is on the case.

A survey of 1,000 Europeans indicates most of us suffer from some form of “digital amnesia,” which isn’t too surprising. Information overload can be real!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Halloween may be over, but the spookiness never stops over here!

When eBay takes down your auction and threatens you with a lifetime ban because your prop heart looks too authentic, that’s when you know you’re a successful prop artist. (Here’s hoping he’s able to sell it to someone who appreciates it!)

Near Edinburgh, nearly two hundred years ago, someone made miniature coffins for miniature figures, and then hid them in a cave. Why? The investigation continues…

 Books from the library of John Dee are going on exhibit next year! 

The Library of Congress has suggestions for a “spooky road trip” itinerary.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Oooo, the BBC is giving His Dark Materials another chance at making it to the screen. (I hope it does; I loved the books.)

The rest of today’s links deal, in some way, with being hidden.

Have you heard of Stanhopes? I hadn’t before now, but they were apparently a way of hiding Victorian-era erotica.

Here’s a collection of vintage photographs of men dressed like women and women dressed like men. As the poster says, it’s not clear if these are instances of cross-dressing or something more (like Lili Elbe, who’s included), but they’re fascinating.

There’s a much bigger message in this wonderful booktwo post, but what I took away was a white-hot curiosity about the “upside down and backwards town” mentioned in connection with WWII radar operators. Off to research!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Devil’s Night is upon us! A very happy Halloween to everyone.

Google has gotten into the spirit with a Halloween-themed “Global Candy Cup” game. Unsurprisingly, I picked the green team. (The green team could use some help, incidentally. The yellow team is beating everyone else by a mile.)

My friends in New York have all sorts of Halloween options, from a dog costume parade to scary street performances to good old fashioned pagan celebrations. One of these years I’m going up there to see for myself. (Also, some year, New Orleans.)

 Cassandra reminds us that horror movie icon Vincent Price wrote a cookbook, and now it’s back in print!

Have a spiffy and spooky weekend, everyone. See you next week!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tis the season for haunted attractions, and examinations of those places which are always haunted in some way.

American Libraries has updated its article on haunted libraries across the country. One of the libraries was built over a former cemetery, seriously. You're just asking for trouble.

The Mysterious Heartland takes a look at haunted museums in the Midwest. Cincinnati’s art museum is #2 on the list!

And speaking of Cincinnati, our Music Hall is said to be haunted, too. It’s a gorgeous building, and just a bit spooky, so I believe it.

Cleveland is trying to compete with Cincinnati, with this claim that Claude Monet visited his own exhibition recently. I am skeptical.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Well, hi. What's a terrifying event to befall a spooky librarian the week of Halloween? Stomach flu! I hope to be back to full strength tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the season.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Happy Friday!

Cincinnatians who like steampunk and/or astronomy and/or history and/or sci-fi should check out the Jules Verne celebration at the Cincinnati Observatory tomorrow night. I won’t be there, but highly recommend going if you can!

Over the past week, with all the new Star Wars material, Bunny was explaining to me why he thinks X-Wing fighters are the worst. Someone at Jalopnik argues that, instead, TIE fighters are the worst. Debate time!

From Julie: Just how many books in the world are bound with human skin?

From Nicole: A probably-not-safe-for-work musical tribute to David Bowie’s…package…in Labyrinth.

And finally, a fascinating (if sad) investigation into one death in New York City. There are so many stories out there, and so many are never known.

Whoa, sorry to get all dark there at the end. Have a spiffy weekend, everyone, and see you next week.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

This week, Airbnb learned that ticking off librarians is a really bad idea. Go librarians!

What happens when something on the internet disappears? The Atlantic investigates, and it’s very good information.

The New York Historical Society is opening a women’s history center, and it looks like it’s going to be incredible.

History time! What were gladiators in Rome really like?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I did have some other links for today, but the internet is going crazy because it is October 21, 2015, and we still don't have hoverboards. So enjoy Christopher Lloyd's greeting to 2015, follow the craziness live, and we'll be back tomorrow (unless a DeLorean arrives near us, in which case all bets are off).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Good morning! Want to start your day off strong? Regard this Old Time Strongman Morning Routine from the Art of Manliness!

The saga of the doomed Romanovs continues. Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra’s bodies have been exhumed, in order to verify that the bodies found in 2007 are those of their children Alexei and Maria.

The story of Alexander Graham Bell versus Western Union is investigated by David Malki! Good stuff.

For steampunky home décor, Jen of EPBOT has you covered.

Congratulations to Canada, and hooray for new Star Wars trailers!

Monday, October 19, 2015

And somehow, it’s Monday again…

Music: Imagine, if you will, a digital pipe organ.

Art: Hooray for Obvious Plant, bringing unexpected surrealism and humor to ordinary places.

More art, sort of: When underground artists need attorneys, where do they go?

History: Julie D’Aubigny’s life was stranger than fiction. Fortunately, there’s a nonfiction book out about her now.

Friday, October 16, 2015

It’s Friday!

From Julie: A warship from the time of Henry V may lie buried in a river. Let’s dig it up and find out.

Also from Julie: You can see Ada Lovelace’s letters and work at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford!

From Nicole: An excellent infographic on monsters in literature, ranked by scariness.

From Cassandra: What do we do about mass shootings in America?

Also from Cassandra: An animated short about Borneo, DDT, and how sometimes solutions cause bigger problems. This is depressing, but it does end with cats parachuting in to save the day, so there’s that, at least.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you next week.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

It’s the end of an era! Stephen Fry is leaving QI! Nooo! Although I will be fair and keep watching. Especially if they do more sing-alongs about the Parthenon (or anything else, for that matter).

Remember when Google was going to digitize all the books? Well, they’re still working on it.

If you’re worried about how much information you give away about yourself online, the Trace My Shadow visualizer can help.

And in other visualizer news, Internet Monitor helps you create quite interesting dashboards of information.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Oooo, there’s a very mysterious star in our galaxy, and it just might be (or have been?) civilized.

Here’s an example of a (wonderful) rabbit hole: Reading about devices used by spiritualists in the 19th century led to the Mysterious Planchette website and weblog, which THEN led to the International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals!

And finally, here are photos and details of how the Toraja in central Indonesia inter their dead. It’s pretty fascinating.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It’s Ada Lovelace Day! Ada’s been getting more and more appreciation in recent years, which is fantastic.

If you’ve ever yearned for secret panels or hidden rooms in your home, MAKE is here to help. 

In 1965, National Geographic featured a 25-page spread on the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and now we can all read it for free! Isn’t the internet great? (Thanks, Ada!)

Monday, October 12, 2015

This fall has been really busy, so far. Apologies for the shorter posts. We’ll get organized sooner or later.

Do you know a Guy In Your MFA? (My husband refers to them as “coffeehouse asshats.”)

Meanwhile, Kate Beaton is putting out more stellar work, hooray.

In Saudi Arabia, an all-women book club is subversive enough just by existing. A memory of reading Alice in Wonderland is lovely.

Friday, October 09, 2015

And we’re back! Thanks for your patience, and thanks to everyone who sent in links.

A leftover from Thursday: It’s the end of an era, for OCLC's last catalog card has been printed.

From Julie: Thousands of photos from the Apollo mission just went online for the first time!

From Cassandra: The Draconid meteor shower is underway!

Also from Cassandra: The deep psychological worlds of Peanuts characters. Lucy is the star, of course.

From Zazoo: “Chrissie Hynde goes berserk She should probably not do interviews...”

Also from Zazoo: Chinese kids are wearing plastic plants on their heads. Get ready, world, the club kids are taking over!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

One more unexpected day off the computer. Regular posting resumes Friday!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Hello! I forgot that today is another dental surgery day (not for me, obviously), so check back tomorrow for links.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Today we talk about secrets real and imaginary.

There may still be secrets in King Tut’s tomb, including – possibly – Nefertiti? 

The government is keeping secrets from you. That’s not news. What is news – and art – is the Glomar Response, a project about secrecy and what light gets through and what’s trapped in darkness. The comparison to Fraunhofer Lines (gaps in the spectrum of sunlight reaching the earth) is brilliant.

If you’re over 35 or so, you probably remember the Satanic Panic of the ‘80s, when cultists apparently lurked behind every corner. It turned out that none of this was real. So why did so many people believe in it? 

And finally, in something more surprising than secret, a new Twilight book was just released. With swapped genders. Um. Fortunately, Cleolinda Jones is reading and livetweeting it so you don’t have to!

Monday, October 05, 2015

Happy Monday!

Here are some of the best images from space over the past month, including the blood super moon thingy.

LEDs are getting even better and even cheaper.

What happened to French philosophy? Aeon investigates.

I am in love with these Doc Martens featuring Hogarth art. I have no idea when I’d wear them, or where I’d wear them, but aren’t they gorgeous?

Friday, October 02, 2015

It's another super busy day here. Thankfully it's Friday, and Cassandra is here to help!

First, an article about neanderthals, and how we don't understand them nearly as well as we thought we did.

Secondly, a poem/story by Jenny Hollowell that you can either read or hear, but be warned, it may sock you in the gut. Metaphorically, that is, not literally. Because that would be weird.

Possible updates later today. If not, have a spiffy weekend, and we'll be back next week!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Hi there. Today is super busy, but take some time to read about the current situation regarding the Librarian of Congress. The Library needs to get into the 21st century, and the next Librarian will be a big part of that. Jessamyn has some thoughts on it, too,  from the perspective of a librarian with a small "l."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It’s almost Halloweentime! And, if you go into Halloweentime withdrawal during the rest of the year, now is the time to sign up for the Secret Pumpkin exchange. In the middle of April, as far away from October as you can get, you can send and receive spooky goodness. (Don’t sign up unless you’re serious, though. You don’t want to aggravate Halloween lovers.)

 It’s also time for ghost stories, and there’s a very good, detailed one about Bobby Mackey’s, one of our local haunts.

Rowlf the Dog encourages the mood with a dramatic reading from the Haunted Mansion’s narration.

Sometimes, truth is spookier than the best ghost story. In Mexico, they’ve found a secret maze of tunnels under a city; meanwhile, an ancient Egyptian stele seems to feature a Cthulhu-like illustration.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

There’s water on Mars! Huzzah!

A time capsule from 1965 was just opened and…it…didn’t go too well. (Maybe we should bury some time capsules on Mars. There’s water there and all, but less water.)

In Greece, the Athens Bartitsu Club 1900 is going strong.

In France, Dismaland is going to house refugees. Good plan.

Also in France, the Machines d’Ile in Nantes has fall and winter themed exhibitions. I had no idea!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday! Links! Art!

Music: Start planning now; Lush is going to perform for the first time in 20 years. It’s scheduled for May 2016 in London.

Music 2: A music festival in Romania took blood as payment, in order to increase blood donations. At least, that’s what they SAID.

Architecture: The first house designed by Gaudi, Casa Vicens, is going to become a museum.

Theatre and history: Abandoned railway tunnels in Bristol are being turned into performance spaces.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Well, it’s Friday, and it’s pretty chaotic in Ohio since Boehner announced he was resigning. So let’s move on to some links from others, before diving back into the newstream!

From Satori: History, cats and ships! It’s a perfect lecture!

From Julie: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the most iconic song, according to science. I was about to argue, but then I saw the full list and it makes more sense. Lots of “classic” sounding songs there.

Back in the ‘80s, a young writer named Neil Gaiman wrote a book on a young band named Duran Duran. John Scalzi has some thoughts about it!

A professor at Ithaca conducted a study tracking all the role-playing game (RPG) books in public and academic libraries. The more you know.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you next week.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This week’s installment of “OMG what is happening to libraries” comes to you from the Atlantic. In a related story, however, millennials are reading more than earlier generations.

Look, it’s an annotated history of annotations!

Medieval history has been reinvented and reinterpreted over and over in literature, film, and now in video games. A historian talks about what medieval communities were really like (spoiler: there was a good deal of diversity, especially once the Vikings started moving around and adopting local cultures).

The statisticians at FiveThirtyEight calculate how to tell someone’s age from their name. Tangential question, based on one of their charts: does anyone know an older woman (or ancestor) named Willie? I have some Wilheminas in my family tree, but they went by Minnie or Mina. This popularity of “Willie” is a surprise to me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Spooky synchronicity storytime! I was reading the BBC’s article on how “Happy Birthday” is now officially in the public domain….when Julie sent me a link to the exact same article. Great librarian minds!

It’s also the first day of autumn, and Google has set out a squirrel to wave at you.

It’s also edging closer to the date of the “rare harvest supermoon,” also called a “blood moon,” also called “the end of the world” according to a few people. Keep watching the skies!

It’s also the beginning of Bobtober! Follow him along for 40 spooky days and nights, won’t you?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago was dismantled and put away (or destroyed) after the fair…except for a few pieces which have turned up in storage!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art not only has a collection of historical musical instruments, they have a weblog about the holdings.

Here’s a skeleton alarm clock from the 1850s. Oh, those wacky Victorians.

Monday, September 21, 2015

And here we are, Monday again.

T.S. Eliot wrote an essay on “The Contemporary Novel” in 1926, but it was never published…until now! 

Thomas Pynchon has also written something new. Maybe. Possibly. It’s hard to tell, actually. 

Doctor Who is back, and here’s a handy infographic on all the villains of the series. (Bring back the Rani!)

Have you heard of Asha Bhosle? Not only has she sung on scores of Bollywood movies, she’s the inspiration for Cornershop’s “Brimful of Asha” hit. The more you know!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Happy Friday!

From Julie: Daleks are invading the London Underground. Be prepared to take the stairs quickly.

From Bunny: Jas. Townsend & Son, Inc. instruct you in the ways of 18th-century cooking, and it’s pretty darned awesome. (Except for the soldier rations. Those were probably the opposite of awesome.)

Via Facebook: Sox News! 

Via my local paper: Thief gets stuck in elevator after pulling off heist. Oops. You don't see this happen on Grand Theft Auto.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Today, we get back to basics. Like reading! ALWAYS READ. Semper Legens. It’s a new t-shirt you can get from Topatoco (inspired by this comic).

Recently, Romania offered free public transport to anyone reading a book. 

In Scotland, the Wigtown Book Festival is almost here, and it looks like a wonderful time.

And, in London, Official Papers UK keeps people up to date on parliamentary publications.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015


It’s not too early to think of Halloween costumes. I highly recommend Take Back Halloween for ideas on female heroes/women of note.

Melissa McCracken paints what she hears – she has synesthesia, and her art is fantastic.

Matthias Schaller started examining the palettes of master artists, and what he found filled a whole book.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Happy Friday!

If I had lots more time, I’d work on about a dozen crowdsourcing projects. The latest, AnnoTate, looks incredibly cool, and gives you access to artists’ journals and sketchbooks!

From Cassandra: A clown motel. In Nevada. What could possibly go wrong?

From Julie: Finally, a formula which tells you which tights to wear, according to the weather!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

How good are you at knowing children’s books? I got 20 out of 23, but I guessed on a few (and I missed the Harry Potter one, oops).

Shelfie helps you back up your personal library digitally, by discovering what’s available online for free. I may give this a try, actually.

Who keeps track of corrections or significant edits in the media? NewsDiffs! They’re doing yeoman’s work.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Regardless of one’s feelings about monarchies, 63 years is a long time to last at anything, including being a queen. Congratulations, Elizabeth.

As a complete non sequitur, let’s talk about Lovecraft, the good and the bad, and how his legacy just seems to grow over time like some sort of eldritch creation.

Sometimes I find links and save them for later, with short descriptions so I can remember why I saved them. For Sofiane Samlal’s LEGO photography (or “Legography”), I just put “awesome LEGO.” I think that’s a pretty good summary. In Samlal’s photos, LEGO minifigs deal with real world problems. Well, sort of. I especially like his rendition of Invader’s mosaic techniques, but Magneto battling Wolverine over tea is a close second. (Batman putting up MISSING posters for Robin is up there, too.)

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Oy, it’s a Tuesday that feels like a Monday.

Burning Man 2015 is over, but there are wonderful photos to remember it by, and also the news that Susan Sarandon brought some of Timothy Leary’s ashes to scatter at the festival.

The color black has been reinvented several times by artists; here’s the most recent interpretation.

An EcoCapsule looks gorgeous and lets you travel the world. What’s not to love?

Friday, September 04, 2015

Happy Friday! And happy long weekend to those of us in the U.S.!

XKCD invites you to take a random survey. It’s pretty fun, actually.

From a co-worker: Old Maps Online goes back to the 15th century, and is all sorts of interesting.

From Cassandra: Are trigger warnings a problem for college students?

Also from Cassandra: The Blood Moon is coming and the world is going to end later this month! (Um, trigger warning, I guess, if you’re frightened of the end of the world, or of the moon?)

From Julie: Creepy lullabies! Julie says, “Guaranteed to help keep children awake!”

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

And we’re back!  

Drones help protect Macchu Picchu and other archaeological treasures. This is a use of drones I can support.

The Digital Public Library of America has new exhibits online, hooray.

When natural disasters strike museums, who you gonna call? The American Institute for Conservation Collections Emergency Response Team, that’s who. (It’s not that catchy, but in this case, the results matter so much more than the name.)

A struggle for control of the New York Times is underway. The biggest takeaway from me was that there was a woman named Iphigene in the family. Wow.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Greetings! Today is a bit of a grab bag. We’ll be gone tomorrow while one of the Spooky Librarians (not me) has some painful extensive dental surgery. Send good thoughts, and painkillers if you have any to spare. (Kidding. We hope.)

Last week, I talked about Islam and Science Fiction’s GoFundMe campaign. This week, here’s an interview at Beyond Victoriana. I love the Islamic Star Wars illustration so much.

From sci-fi to science: Why not get a scarf or a painting with cellular art? Someone on Twitter linked to the brain cells scarf as a “back to school” image, and I think it’s gorgeous.

From science to magic: The Center for Tactical Magic has a Tactical Ice Cream Unit. I mean, what more does one want from life? The good people at We Make Money Not Art interview the founder of the Center. It’s a great read.

See you Thursday!

Monday, August 31, 2015

We lost a lot of people over the weekend. Director Wes Craven is remembered, as is author/neurologist Oliver Sacks.

An architect decided to make tiny paper structures every day for a year. It ended up being an inspiring and amazing cumulative project, and you can see all of the creations here.

Two hundred years ago, a volcano erupted in Indonesia and created “the year without a summer” in Europe and North America. Scientists are finally putting all the pieces together.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Happy Friday! Many thanks to everyone who sent in links for today’s compilation.

Cassandra sent this article on Pitchfork’s “best songs of the ‘80s” mess with the subject line “I’m sure you have an opinion,” and yes, I sure do, but it’s not really printable. I’ll be over here listening to the “Burning the Existence” goth mix from Secret Thirteen, which I just discovered this week and where has it been all my life, anyway?

Zazoo sent in definitive proof that Park Slope has become a hipster haven/hellmouth, depending on your view of hipsters, with this new clothing line for children. For once, possibly the only time, I encourage you to read the comments.

Bunny sent an article on the benefits of coloring books with the message “see, you were ahead of your time!”

Longtime contributor Julie is back from sick bay, hooray! She sent in information on Mummy Brown paint (made from actual mummies – Wednesday Addams would be proud); the addition of “manspreading” to the Oxford dictionary; and a detailed analysis of Poohsticks. I don’t understand why Poohsticks is not a bigger deal here in the states. Do kids play it, and I’m just out of touch? Let me know!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you next week.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

They’re queuing up for the last Terry Pratchett book. Sad.

Iraqis are racing to digitize their national library before items are destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Vatican is also digitizing their materials. They’re probably leaving out the especially spooky stuff, though.

Here in the United States, NARA is advising archivists how to handle electronic messages. (I predict that, in the future, archivists will look back at this time as a wasteland of lost materials.)

The New York Public Library has a list of children’s books which take place in a library. Have you read any?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy National Dog Day!

On this date in 1883, Krakatoa began erupting.

The Rosetta Disc is in space, aiming to confuse extraterrestials with our myriad of languages.

Halloween is edging closer, and LEGO is prepared with new monster minifigures. Who doesn’t want a tiny Banshee?

If werewolves are more your thing, good news – a three-day conference on lycanthropes and their world begins September 3, and it looks amazing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Did you know there’s an Evil Archivist out there? Darkivists unite!

The U.S. National Archives is now on Instagram, and has some great images.

Behold the UK Bartitsu Alliance. No politics, just a good old-fashioned gentleman’s (and gentlewoman’s) fight club.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Monday! Here be the links to arty things.

Music: The founder of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus is retiring after forty-six years.

History: You can visit the Harlem Renaissance virtually.

History + art: There’s a website devoted to Route 66 postcards.

Literature + art + much more: Islam SciFi is a fantastic community, and they could use some financial help. Go and see!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Happy Friday! You'd think today would be a nice calm end-of-summer day, but no, it's kind of hectic. So I encourage everyone to go outside and enjoy the day, and have a spiffy weekend, and we'll catch up on Monday. See you then!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

H.P. Lovecraft would be 125 years old today. While he had a lot of personal issues, to put it mildly, the worlds he created live on and on, which is a worthy achievement. Today, people gather in Providence for the three-day NecronomiCon (get it?), and there’s a whole lot going on, from historical walks to lectures to gaming.

In unrelated but still spooky happenings, the Smithsonian examines why creepy dolls are so, well, creepy. The article has lots of links to follow. Have fun going down the rabbit hole!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RIP, Yvonne Craig. Batgirl is forever.

Yesterday, Ryan North got stuck in a hole (well, a skate bowl) and asked Twitter for help. Today, it’s international news!

If you like the idea of escaping from something (a skate bowl, a room, a planet), good news -- the Escape Room Directory is worldwide. I think it just encompasses rooms, though.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

You know what LED lights are good for? Adult-sized Lite Brite fixtures!

LED lights are also perfect for crafting magical weapons. Or, at least, weapons that look magical.

Speaking of magical, J.W. Kinsey creates steampunky tools, art, and even walls.

Hand-colored photographs of samurai warriors and their families are magical, too, bringing history alive.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Happy Monday!

History: The remains of an ancient female warrior have been found in Kazakhstan.

Art: What are the best illustrations for the Grimm fairy tales? Here are some for your consideration.

Literature: All hail the Weird Fiction!

Art + Literature = highly personal literary tattoos.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy Friday!

Via Cassandra: I did not know that HexBugs were also cat toys. The more you know!

Via John Green: DNA solves a Presidential genealogical mystery! Warren Harding’s “love child” is proven to be his, genetically.

Serious question: Do you remember these Bears as Berenstein or Berenstain? There’s a whole theory built up around what you remember.

And finally: It is a (possibly little-known?) fact that I love Motown, so I leave you for the weekend with this completely awesome performance by the third, fourth, and fifth-graders of Baldwin Hills Elementary in Los Angeles. (If you like this, there’s a whole bunch more videos, including a jaw-dropping rendition of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation.”) Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Happy Left-Handers Day! If you’re not left-handed, you can try your hand (haha) at everyday tasks using your nondominant hand and see what it’s like for us. (I was delighted to find “cutting bread” on the list. Finally, an explanation for my total failure to slice bread straight!)

 In other news:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Oh, right, Folderol! This was ready to go up earlier today, and then life got in the way and I forgot. Here it be!

The competition in this Dark Crystal creature fabrication contest was fierce. And amazing.

Strange Maps, always a favorite of mine, looks at the mapping of city fires throughout history.

If we only knew Welsh, we would have applied for this job on a remote, haunted island. I mean, look at it!

Since I can’t go off to a remote Welsh island, I instead took a look at Avoid Humans, which tells you where the deserted places are near you. I am unsure about their accuracy, because the first place they listed for me was a brewery. (Then again, it was 10 a.m. when I looked at this, so they could have been right…)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hi! We’re working on something behind the scenes – stay tuned for it, probably later this week.

In the meantime, please enjoy the bizarre sounds of Sam Conran’s Kabbalistic Synthesizer! Here are some sounds from it, and here is some more detail, thanks to the good people at We Make Money Not Art.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Here’s a great discovery: an odd old photo turns out to be the first image of the Smithsonian castle.

I don’t think I had heard of Joe Gould until I read about him in the New Yorker. It’s a long story about a bizarre man who knew many of the premier writers in New York in the early 20th century. I also hadn’t heard of Augusta Savage until now, and wow, she is amazing and I'm off to learn more about her.

A defense of handwriting points to an aspect I still love: the connection between mind and body. Writing by hand is a very different experience (to me) than typing.

And, lastly: Wobblebots! You can make them yourself!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Hi there. The Spooky Librarians will be exploring (a tiny part of) the 127 Yard Sale during part of tomorrow, so Folderol will take Friday off. Have a spiffy weekend in advance, everyone!

From Zazoo: the Associated Press is uploading a veritable treasure trove of historical footage to its YouTube channel.

From Bill Lucey: Possibly, historic baseball saloons are among the footage mentioned above!

From Twitter: Brace yourselves, parents: Tiger Beat is back! (I looked at the September cover and know exactly three out of the dozens of people pictured there. Wow.)

From a library cohort: Japan has a new “Book and Bed Hotel,” which is heavy on the books but light on the privacy. Bring headphones, maybe?

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Remember when we used to go around the world on Wednesdays and see what was going on? Let’s do that again!

In the Amazon, the idea of pristine rainforest has been challenged by the discovery of ancient cities in the jungle. Nature has a way of erasing humankind, albeit very slowly.

In India, they’ve run into an age-old problem: setting feeders out for birds means that you’re also feeding (or fighting) squirrels. (Thanks to Ratatosk4, who keeps up on all squirrel-related news.)

Meanwhile, in New York City, it’s been hot (not as hot as it’s been in Iran, which is terrifying), so WNYC has helpfully compiled a map of the hottest subway stations in the city. Stay away from the 4/5/6 at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station! (I was at that station not long ago, actually, and can verify it's pretty stifling.)

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Today, let’s talk about the future.

First off: Women, the future needs you! 

Next up: An open letter (with many distinguished signatories) discusses concerns about AI weaponry. Jamais Cisco goes into more detail. 

What’s your algorithmic citizenship? Citizen-Ex is a browser extension that shows you where you browse and what that means.

Described as a cross between IMDB and Wikipedia, the brand new MakerBase tells you who made the technology you use.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Happy Monday!

Have you heard of Harry Partch? He rebelled against traditional Western music and not only made his own music, but also his own instruments. Efforts are underway to recreate one of his works, which means recreating the instruments, too.

Long, long ago, when I lived in France for a few months, I would see a short puppet show (like Spitting Image) in between news broadcasts in the evening. If I ever knew the name, I forgot it, but it turns out that “Les Guignols de l’Info” is still alive and well and on French television, and even the politicians support the show.

Robert Louis Stevenson was a man of contradictions, who managed to lead an extraordinary life despite some serious obstacles.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Happy Friday! Thanks to everyone who reads and sends in links. Special shout out to regular contributor Julie, who is temporarily away having “bits and bobs” removed in hospital. Hope you’re doing well!

From Cassandra: SETI and Stephen Hawking are stepping up the hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence. Look out, aliens!

Also from Cassandra: a great article from the Atlantic about the recent discoveries at Jamestown, which discusses the possibility of an underground Catholic group among the Protestants at the settlement.

From Zazoo: Have you heard of Whittier, Alaska? It’s sort of like a sci-fi setting. Or a post-apocalyptic setting. Or a horror setting!

Also from Zazoo: “The fascinating history of the song Mahna Mahna.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you next week.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Library school graduates know that you run across mentions of Vannevar Bush in the oddest places. Today it’s an article on information overload which also invokes T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Marshall McLuhan, and more.

Which Book offers a different way of finding something to read. I tried a few sliders and was amused to find that it recommended a book of poetry by Wislawa Szymborska that I already own. It must be doing something right!

Libraries usually match up with cats, but in one particular case, an owl has received a library card.

In September, an e-forum will take place on “Sustainable Development Goals: The Impact of Access to Information on our Societies.” It’s part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals initiative, and looks really interesting.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

If the fifty U.S. states were people in a bar, how would they act? I have to admit, most of these are dead on. Ohio, in particular, is frighteningly on point.

In California, meanwhile, you can buy odd lots in Los Angeles and do whatever you like with them! Here’s the full list. I would suggest purchasing the 26 square-foot lot and putting up this Tillinghast Field Warning Sign.

Atlas Obscura has been knocking it out of the park lately. Here’s a great article about the history of modern tarot cards.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hello! We’re getting caught up, so today is a short entry.

Starting off your day with a rave may sound wacky, but then again…

Hopes and Fears has a great ongoing “what do you do” series; the one about working for carnies is especially good.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Monday to you. It's an unexpected day away from Folderol; back tomorrow, probably!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Happy Friday, everyone!

From Zazoo: The pitch for the new Muppets show is really great, and gets back to the heart of Muppetdom. Hooray!

From Cassandra: A theory about conspiracy theorists contends that they’re theorizing the wrong way. Theoretically.

The Zooniverse has a new crowdsourcing project, Season Spotter, in which you report on the plants and your climate to track the changes throughout the year. If you like this, there’s a historic weather project as well.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you next week.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fun fact of the day: Science mag OMNI was almost called NOVA. Then PBS got mad, and voila, OMNI.

Another fun fact: Dune is celebrating its fiftieth birthday. The Guardian looks back on the author and the sci-fi classic.

Finding out what a dramaturg does is awfully hard. I wish I’d known about it in college!

A WWII aircraft graveyard of sorts has been discovered underwater. Here are some gorgeous images.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

There are definitely times when I wonder if people react like this to links I send them. (That’s why I started a weblog a million years ago!)

'Tis the season for road trips across America. Here’s a great map tracing some of the best literary cross-country journeys.

Meanwhile, in Vermont, there are roads that don’t exist, but are still on the books. BLDG BLOG talks about them, and the same author wrote about them in the New Yorker. If you like travel and history, this is a must.

Meanwhile, in Stockholm’s airport, you can experience the weather in various locales without even getting on a plane!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Have you heard of Hart Island? It’s part of New York City, and has been a potter’s field for thousands of dead bodies. It’s also almost been an amusement park, and may be a park in the future. It’s a strange place.

You’ve probably heard of Rikers Island, which is nearby and has its own story and atmosphere.

While we’re on somewhat dark topics, have you heard of death cafes? They’re places for people to talk about death, and funeral practices, and what one’s experiences are.

On to brighter things…have you heard of featherbowling? I hadn’t, until I read this article, which is long and fascinating and covers everything from Belgian history to art theft.

King George: obnoxious monarch, or brilliant party planner? Probably both, as it turns out.

Monday, July 20, 2015

It’s Monday again, oy. Let’s start on a good note, by looking at this gallery of fantastic Comic-Con cosplayers!

Paris is planning a new skyscraper, which looks like a pyramid. I am all for more pyramids on this planet. The site for the building is in French, but the visuals speak for themselves.

Do you have one of the missing Faberge eggs? It’s possible!

LitHub provides a list of ten great writers nobody reads. The list alone makes for pretty interesting reading.

Friday, July 17, 2015

It is Friday, hooray!

From Holly: Chipmunks with light sabers. It’s all you expect and more!

From Cassandra: Pluto is bigger than we thought. Go Pluto!

Also from Cassandra: the APA apologizes via Twitter for aiding CIA torture activities. The apology goes about as well as you would expect.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Today, Google celebrates Ida B. Wells, who was amazing. (Check out Kate Beaton’s comics about her, too!)

The Freedmen’s Bureau Project is a cooperative effort to help African Americans discover their roots. You can volunteer to help index historical records.

Also, the Southwestern Christian Advocate has made a portion of their “Lost Friends” advertisements available online. These are (often heartbreaking) notices from 1879-1880, placed by people looking for relatives and friends who had been separated during the era of slavery.