Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Friday, happy Solstice, happy Yule, happy Yaldā Night! 

It’s also the beginning of Capricorn season. Hooray for this acknowledgement that Capricorns often get a raw deal from astrologers (“your color is brown, you are known for being dull as dirt”) and that Capricorn season can be weird and fun as well.

The original Mickey Mouse was…pretty terrifying, frankly. 

Library Planet aims to be a crowdsourced Lonely Planet for libraries, and it’s well on its way!

Via Matt Staggs on Twitter: Vintage Ad Browser may suck away several hours of your time, which might be good if you’re looking for something to do over the holidays.

Happy Holidays, everyone! Updating will be sporadic until the new year begins and we settle into January. Have a safe and spiffy time. See you soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Some bits and bobs as we start winding down for the holidays...

I love subway maps, and things made to look like subway maps, so of course I love this subway map depiction of the human anatomy, in painstaking detail, no less!

Calgary’s new library is amazing. Go visit if you can.

Tim Klein makes art out of jigsaw puzzles, as many use the same die cut pattern. The results are fantastic. 

The Louis Armstrong House Museum’s archives - photos, recordings, everything - are now online!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

It’s already far too late to order Scarfolk Christmas items…which is probably a relief, honestly.

Also on Twitter: Terrible Maps! Does what it says!

In observance of the winter solstice, you can help Zooniverse chronicle the historic weather conditions of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean.

If you’re spooky and like spooky music, good news! Metafilter has some suggestions for dark-tinged holiday music. 

Also for the spooky: Scary Christmas characters in literature!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

I had no idea the British government has a Cabinet Office Briefing Room A for emergency situations, which abbreviates to COBRA. On purpose! From the website: “At COBRA meetings, decisions and a possible response, sometimes simply a press conference, are made under real or imagined conditions of emergency and/or crisis.”

Does G.I. Joe know about this?


 Anyway. In other news, the Miss Universe pageant was held, with the mandatory level of insane costumes we have come to expect and appreciate. Tom and Lorenzo have several entries on the madness; this is the first. 

From Holly: Please admire Sir Nils Olav, a most distinguished penguin! 

Google is celebrating Paul Klee’s birthday, which is a wonderful reason to look at his art.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Behold, Monday once more.

In southeastern Ohio, they’re creating an Art Corridor which will eventually wind along 230 miles of hilly loveliness, including some art at my alma mater. 

World War I changed the horror genre, permanently.

The remake of Suspiria celebrates dance in a way the original film didn’t, and here are some examples of the inspiration behind it, all of which are super cool.

Is background music playing where you are right now? Do you notice it, even? It’s become more influential recently.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday, hooray!

It’s that time of year where we tend to look back and sum up. CrimeReads lists the best historical crime novels of the year, and Bill Lucey tracks the most read online news stories of 2018. 

It’s also that time of year when you hear certain songs. I’ve been playing Whamageddon and haven’t heard it yet! I haven’t heard Fairytale of New York, either, but that will probably get fixed quite soon.

What 19th century character trope are you? Find out with this random generator! I am pleased to report that I am a Dashing Bohemian with Ulterior Motives. Well, obviously.

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

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Hello hello and Happy St. Lucia Day. We’re back and we have links!

How many of you have photos of mid-century mid-aged women at Christmas, like these? (We have a bunch; the Chicago side of the family resembles these photos a great deal!)

Medieval London was a hive of scum and villainy, and now you can see exact details of the 142 murders committed between 1300 and 1340. It didn’t take much to start a fatal argument, apparently. 

The Wellcome Collection takes us around the world with ten objects related to death. 

And in prettier news, the architecture for 2020’s Dubai Expo looks like it will be amazing, with an interactive Poem Pavilion among the designs.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Hello! We’re going to be off tomorrow and a few days next week for some end-of-year maintenance and preparation. So consider this a Friday of sorts! (Our LEGO advent calendar videos will be posted each day, though. There’s even a handy playlist now.)

From Nicole: What should you read this month, based on your astrological sign? All of these look pretty good, to be honest.

If you’ve found the Brexit omnishambles confusing, you’re not alone. Fortunately, John Bull is here to guide us through Adventures in Brexit. Well. Sort of. It’s much more entertaining than anything else I’ve found. (Scroll down to "latest.")

On a related note, BoingBoing points to a text adventure game (if you can call it that) in which you are in charge of the British Occult Defence Agency, and must make budget cuts. Is protection from pixies more important than the holiday party? Only you can decide!

My dad’s favorite Christmas show was The Box of Delights. (Doctor Who alert: Patrick Troughton plays a starring role!) Now there’s a stage version, which looks just as magical.

Have a safe and spiffy few days, everyone! See you next week.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

It’s Krampus season! I like the idea of St. Nicholas and Krampus as the original good cop/bad cop team.

Weird Christmas posts items on Twitter about…well, weird Christmas ephemera, and they also have a podcast! 

Speaking of audio presentation, apparently the BBC is presenting The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

Why are Victorian mansions the de facto haunted house in media? JSTOR Daily has the answer! (The article in the sidebar, about burying people in the foundation of buildings, is creepier, in case you’re interested.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

I understand a day of mourning for a former president, but what madness is this?!? 

John Scalzi is running his annual Whatever Holiday Gift Guide this week. Read it to get some gift ideas, or promote your own work to others! 

AI Weirdness has another great post on song beginnings. I am partial to “I don’t know the baby” and “I can dance if you want my life.”

Until this week, I had not heard of Lily Dale, New York. Now I can’t wait to visit this home of Spiritualism! If you’re psychically inclined, you can even become a registered medium.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Hello and happy Monday!

One of our alter egos got its hands on the 2018 Star Wars LEGO Advent Calendar, and is doing a day by day recap of the treasures within its cardboard walls. Here’s December 1st – subscribe for more mayhem as the month goes on!

A repeat for the season: Dangerous Minds does a deep dive on winter pagan celebrations. 

From Cassandra: An amazing portrait book of wild animals. 

Also from Cassandra: We are all just cogs in the machine, man. 

From Julie: Trepanation! It used to be good for what ailed you. Possibly.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hello! Here’s something for the past, the present, and the future.

Past: Unicorns were real! But they were not beautiful delicate things, and climate change killed them.

Present: Ohio has 88 counties, the same number as keys on a piano, so you know what someone had to do. Thanks to Andy Woodruff, you can play a route, play a song, play anything on Ohio as a piano. (Possibly unnecessary warning: this site makes noise once you click on the map.)

Future: Next year, the Bauhaus art movement will celebrate its 100th birthday (anniversary? birthday? centennial? how does one properly note such things?) but the website is already up and looks gorgeous.

Folderol will probably not update tomorrow due to work commitments, so have a safe and spiffy weekend, and we’ll be back next week!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Today we say farewell to Harry Leslie Smith, who was 95, a WWII veteran, and an activist up to the very end. His Twitter account (yes, he was on Twitter!) was fantastic, and here’s an example of his writing. Godspeed, Harry.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I just discovered The Decolonial Atlas, which is awesome, and I especially love this world map showing how very recent so many borders are. The world is constantly changing.

Madame Tussaud was impressing visitors back in 1883 with her realistic waxworks!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Hello and happy Monday!

Over the holiday, we watched the Edwardian Farm series (we’re working our way through all of the farm series), and the episodes on the moor reminded me of Robert Macfarlane’s tale on the spookiness of the English countryside. 

Closer to home, we also talked about the great Plummet Mall prank commercials of the mid-1980s. This is a very localized memory, but fortunately the ads are still around on YouTube!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Transgender Day of Remembrance was yesterday, but any day is a good one to explore the Digital Transgender Archive; there are so many fascinating individuals and stories to find there.

From Holly: Girl Scouts learn about mortuary science! Yes! Future Spooky People of America!

The 2018 Disruptive Innovation Festival has been going on all month – see what the future may bring. 

Have a happy Thanksgiving and/or weekend, everyone! See you next week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Tobias Till makes linocuts which look like they’re from another time, but they’re current and awesome.

Suzanne Treister has created hundreds of amazing pieces, but I’m especially in love with her Hexen 2.0 Tarot cards, all about alternative futures, past visionaries, and secret societies. 

Frank Turner makes music, and here is “I Still Believe,” which still works as an anthem in these increasingly odd times.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Happy Monday!

As the Brexit omnishambles continues, Scarfolk Council has a new poster for sale, reflecting the times. (If you like the look of the poster, there’s a site dedicated to Abram Games, the artist who designed the original, which is most definitely worth a look. I love this style of art.)

From Holly: Behold the Lottie Fossil Hunter doll! It’s about time!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Happy Friday! Next week will be a short one due to Thanksgiving. In my neck of the woods, this means multiple utterances of “as God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly,” among other lines… 

La Machine is back with another amazing steampunk creation. This time it’s a giant minotaur prowling the streets! 

If you want to feel old (or young, depending on the day), check out Exactly As Old, which tells you what others were doing on this date.

Tatsuya Tanaka creates amazing daily images for the Miniature Calendar website, and has done so for years. Talk about inspiring!

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Well, Thursdays, we meet again.

While I was at Internet Librarian, I got to meet Dewey, a robot at the Palo Alto Public Library. He’s quite popular!

Cities are experimenting with “memory towns” to help older people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The BBC has a lovely piece on the last velvet merchant in Venice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The London Library has found the books Bram Stoker used for reference while writing Dracula. How awesome is that?

On the other side of the horror writing spectrum, we find M.R. James, who thought Stoker was a bit too much. He wrote sparse, uncanny stories set mostly in tiny English towns, and there’s even a podcast on his work now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Hello! Important news (well, sort of, in the grand scheme of things): the definition of a kilogram is being revised. (Did you know the true kilogram resides in a triple-locked vault near Paris? It’s true!) 

The Victoria and Albert Museum offers several themed tours, and one of them happens to be LGBTQ-themed. This is delightful! And if you’re nowhere near the museum, fret not, you can take the tour online! 

 At long last, someone has invented glasses that block you from seeing computer screens. (It’s not John Carpenter, although the inventors wouldn’t mind a word from him.)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Hello, and happy Monday. Let’s go to Mars, shall we?

No one’s made it to Mars yet, but six people are living in a geodesic dome atop a volcano in an effort to test the conditions.

If/when we do get to Mars, we will, unfortunately, still be flawed humans. How does one police on Mars? Well...

Friday, November 09, 2018

Happy Friday!

Ghost of the Doll is a UK-based website with details on toys (mostly dolls, unsurprisingly) of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Wow, there were some seriously weird dolls out there back in the day.

Proxxi is a piece of wearable technology which warns the wearer if they’re too close to high voltages. Neat!

Beijing has a whole underground city thriving beneath the streets. The former bunkers make it all look like one of the Vaults from Fallout. 

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

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Grab bag of links today, in the midst of world chaos. (Heal up quick, RBG!)

What happened to the Nancy Drew video games? Well, it’s a story of twists and turns… 

Even cats did their part to help during the race to space!

I loved Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and am glad to see a few others liked it too. 

This Lithuanian wine cellar, built in an old bunker, is a thing of steampunkian beauty.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

We’re coming up on 100 years since Armistice Day, the end of World War I, and here’s what’s going on in the world:

- The WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City is holding an Armistice Commemoration;

- The Tower of London is lit up with 10,000 torches as part of a week-long remembrance ceremony;

- Many war photos have been colorized by Tom Marshall and others (they have a Facebook page with more details);

- and, in Germany, it’s understandably a pretty subdued scene. 

If you like your history older than a hundred years, fear not! The Public Medievalist is doing a special series on gender and sexism during the Middle Ages! (Paging Cassandra…)

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Hello, and GO VOTE if you’re in the USA today! In the meantime, we’re featuring a bonus Links from Others day. Thanks to all!

From Satori: “I didn't get a chance to try an arepa until we moved to NYC. Now there are MULTIPLE places in Cincy to get them!

From Cassandra: Trauma and stress can affect people years down the road, and maybe even longer. 

Ever wonder why company names go in and out of style? Here’s a look at how and why that happens!

I know the spooky season is technically over, but I didn’t get a chance to post this fantastic AI Weirdness Halloween costume algorithm! It’s even interactive. SO good.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Happy Guy Fawkes Day, a day to remember! We are back, in body if not in spirit. Stay tuned for more links, and if you're in the US, don't forget to vote tomorrow. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Happy Friday, everyone! Just dropping in for a quick few links before heading off into the lands of vacation.

From Zazoo: Banksy’s shredding painting prank didn’t go quite as planned. 

Also from Zazoo: San Francisco rents are so high that service workers can’t afford to live there…which leads to some creative setups.

Green-Wood Cemetery, one of my favorites, is putting on Border Crossings: This and Other Worlds the weekend of November 2nd. If you’re in the NYC area, check it out; it looks amazing.

Have a safe and spiffy Halloween, everyone! See you soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hello! It's sort of dangerous out there. Stay safe, everyone.

If you haven't visited Retronaut in a while, please do so - they're posting many capsules, all of which are great.

 Also great, in a Brutalist sort of way, are these war memorials in what once was Yugoslavia.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hi everyone! Try a Neural Horror Picture show this spooky season, courtesy of AI Weirdness!

(Learned a lot about AI last week at Internet Librarian, so this fits in well.)

Friday, October 12, 2018


I found this on Twitter, and apparently this is originally from Facebook, but I couldn't track down the origin:

I am pleased to report that my Young Adult Book would be "Love, Book Club, and Other Things That Are Better in Space."

Meanwhile, my husband is equally thrilled that his book would be titled "Love, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things."

Happy Friday! Next week, I will be at the Internet Librarian conference (say hi if you see me), then I will be back, and then we’re taking a few days to celebrate Halloween properly. The upshot is that Folderol will be super erratic from now until the end of the month. On to the links!

From Julie: Stephen Hawking’s final scientific paper has been released. 

From Zazoo: A look back at Margaret Thatcher’s homophobic Clause 28, thirty years later. Bonus: Here’s Boy George’s “No Clause 28” song.

From Cassandra: Look to the nuns for leaders in the resistance movement. 

Also from Cassandra: What happened to the night children? (This needs to be a song title.)

Stay safe, everyone! Back soon.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The always fascinating Public Domain Review took a look at Count Stenbock, a poet and contemporary of Oscar Wilde and Yeats. I’d never heard of him before, but he led quite the decadent life, apparently.

Anne Thériault’s latest entry on the Queens of Infamy is up, and I learned that Catherine de Medici kept a whole hidden cabinet in the walls at Blois. Talk about home décor inspiration!

The LA Review of Books interviewed Aimee Mann about her favorite writers, both past and present. 

Why is Nepal’s flag so different? Well, part of it has to do with (lack of) colonization. (Insert Eddie Izzard’s bit about flags here.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Best of luck to all those in the hurricane’s path; it looks scary as all getout. 

Also scary, back in the day, was working as a cemetery guard. Apparently quite a few men suffered from “tombstone madness.” 

A Rothschild baroness collected skulls, which are now part of a museum exhibit. Perfect for the spooky season.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Have petroglyphs shown the way to a lost Indian civilization? Some archaeologists think so!

Via Tom and Lorenzo, the 2018 World of Wearable Art, and its award winners, is as mind-blowing as always. Take some time and explore, it’s worth it!

Monday, October 08, 2018

Not to start off the week with bad news, but…the planet has some bad news. 

(Here’s the full report, if you like.)

In other news…Tolstoy once inspired a whole “back to the land” movement of sorts, and one farm still survives, in a unique way.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Happy Friday, and hail to our new empress, who pulled a thousand-year-old sword from a lake. She’s only eight years old, but her name is Saga and she can’t do any worse than what we have now, right? 

From Cassandra: Confessions of a (sixth generation) mortician. From my days as the partner of a mortuary college librarian, this sounds about right.

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

Thursday, October 04, 2018

OK, everyone, I am going to Internet Librarian very soon, and I am going to make a concerted effort to be social and extroverted and join events and all that good stuff that is supposed to expand my comfort zone. (I say this now, from the remove of ten days or so. But still, I am going to try!) So wish me luck, and if you have any suggestions, send them my way.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Today: Spooky music! More specifically, here are 31 great spooky albums to listen to and/or track down, depending on your current music library, brought to you by Diabolique Magazine. (Special bonus: One of the contributors is our friend Heather Drain!)

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Hi all. It’s October, finally, and that means we can be properly spooky. One way to begin is with Bob Freeman’s annual Occultober! 

However, there’s real life horror unfolding in Indonesia after the recent earthquake and tsunami. There are a myriad of ways to donate and help, but here are a few. Please help out if you can.

Monday, October 01, 2018

OK, let’s start another week. Here are some links, before the world gets too wound up again! 

Hollywood has a retirement home for cast and crew members, and it has its own TV channel with original programming by and for the residents. (This is a really great story, I highly recommend it.) 

Remember the attempt at combining board games with VCR tapes? It didn’t really go too well, and Tedium explores why. 

More AI weirdness: Here are some “common objects” as imagined by an AI network. It’s very good at dogs! Not so much with clocks or people, although the clocks look like something out of an amazing steampunk movie.

There are hundreds of gorgeous miniatures depicting Islamic science. Most of these are modern fakes. Why? Well, it’s a long story.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Hi all. Too angry/depressed/sad about the state of the world to post anything fun today. Have a safe (and spiffy as possible) weekend, and we'll be back next week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Finally, a map that emphasizes the oceans, instead of all those annoying land masses!

Due to increased tourism in Iceland, there are a lot of tourists getting lost or stuck or hurt there. Fortunately, there’s an amazing group of volunteer rescuers working to save and educate them. 

Create your own monster with the Hybridizer! I made a squirrel wolf!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hello! Today we’re going through some history.

An Egyptian necropolis has been found, dating back to the Middle Kingdom.

Would you like an authentic Swiss chalet home in Cincinnati? It’s true, it exists and it can be yours! 

Before tattooing became commonplace, there was the stencil craze of the 1920s. Retronaut has some examples.

History Extra takes a look at some famous imposters throughout history, including Anna Anderson and Princess Caraboo.

Monday, September 24, 2018

It’s Monday, and time for a look at the arts.

Music: WNYC teamed up with the National Constitution Center to make songs based on each amendment, and they’re amazing. Check them out! Dolly Parton has a great song about the 19th Amendment!

Literature: The New York Public Library is creating “Insta Novels” on Instagram for certain books, like Alice in Wonderland. 

Grammar: It’s National Punctuation Day!!! 

Fine Arts: Hildreth Meière created over 100 commissioned works for public spaces, and incorporated Art Deco and Byzantine mosaic design into many of them. I’d never heard of her before now, and I can’t believe it, because her work is incredible.

Crafty Spookiness: Behold the tiny nightmares at Croshame, where horror movies are spun into reality! (Possibly NSFW if you go to the main page and your workplace has issues with crocheted nudity. Hey, I don’t know where you work.)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Happy Friday, all.

From Julie: Behold, the winners of the igNobels! Included are such gems as riding a roller coaster to help pass kidney stones. (Yes, there really was a study on this!)

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Mr. Rogers, and it’s lovely.

What will the college courses of the future be like? Well, according to a neural network, there will be intriguing selections like “Devilogy” and “Survivery.”  (Sign me up!)

Via Kate Beaton: Why doctors need to listen to patients…really listen. 

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

Thursday, September 20, 2018

If you’re in London, go visit the poetry-spouting lion in Trafalgar Square this week! (If you’re not in London, fear not: you can still participate by contributing to the poetry.)

Meanwhile, in NYC, the Reanimation Library is looking for a new home. Can you help?

In ancient history (ha), here are some Polaroids from the set of Star Wars: A New Hope. I especially like the photo which looks like a salesman is talking to the Tusken Raiders. "Hovercraft, used by one careful driver, floats like a dream!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ahoy! 'Tis Talk Like a Pirate Day once more! Remember when we used t' travel th' globe on Wednesdays? Let’ do that again!

We start in Canada, where a wolf cur 'n a caribou trapped in ice fer centuries 'ave been recovered. I was afeared this was some sort o' hoax, but it seems t' be legit. 

From thar, we go t' Istanbul, ship o' th' underground mosque. 

Then it’s on t'…well, many places indeed, as Berkeley's made themselves a resource on th' travels o' Ibn Battuta. 

'N then we land back in me hometown, where ale will be flowin' fer Oktoberfest, which always happens in September (don’t ask me, I 'ave no idea why). Arrrr!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In a terrifying story that sounds like it comes from Hookland (it doesn’t, which is even MORE terrifying), spiders are to blame for some creepy dead-of-night nursery rhyme music. 

In news that is probably unconnected, another sphinx has been discovered in Egypt!

Monday, September 17, 2018

And lo, it is Monday once more…

Inspired by the Ashmolean’s current exhibit “Spellbound,” Philip Pullman talks about magic and imagination. 

What’s it like costuming Shakespeare in the Park (and other outdoor performances)? In the summer, it means a lot of ice packs and fake blood which doesn’t attract insects. 

Just for fun: Writers and their cats.

Friday, September 14, 2018

And it is Friday!

From Julie: Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell explain, in an illustrated manner, why libraries are important. 

Also from Julie: What exactly happened on the International Space Station last week? My theory: invisible aliens. Also, this just in from Gizmodo: A solar observatory has been shut down – temporarily? – by the FBI! Probably due to hacking or satellite discovery, but still.

From Cassandra: Ninnoc, a documentary exploring how it feels to be “different.”

From Satori: Kitten rescued from drainpipe! (She wasn’t actually stuck in the drainpipe, just hiding out. She’s looking much better now and in the capable hands of the Zazoo & Satori team!)

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

It's Thursday and you know what that means: no time to post! But here is a lovely page of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Award finalists (check out that squirrel) and we will return tomorrow with LOTS of links from others, happily.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Did you know that there is a Sorriest Bus Stops tournament? I didn’t, until I found out that my city is in the running for the championship. (I know this stop, actually! The bus route is…not great there.) 

Meanwhile, Reuben Wu takes amazing photos of the world around us, including a cross-country trip across America.

Monday, September 10, 2018

And we are back for another whirl on this bizarre merry-go-round of current events!

Paper dolls have been around a long time, and they have also had an interesting underground gay history.

Tedium investigates the history of sound design (more specifically, the sounds of Indiana Jones), and via that, I found the Soundkeeper website, which is really interesting.

Via Zazoo: An interview with Cyndi Lauper, and how “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” has evolved through the years!

Friday, September 07, 2018

So, yesterday was not exactly a normal day where I work downtown. Stay safe out there, everyone. 

After the horrible fire that destroyed almost everything at Brazil’s national museum, Wikipedia is looking for photos of the exhibits. If you’ve been there, see if you can help. 

From Satori: “An immersive art exhibit disguised as a futuristic body modification fashion shop. It looks totally freaky/amazing.” (He’s right! It does!) Check out the customizable heart design, at the very least.

And finally, you will all be pleased to know that Richard Scarry’s Busytown has been updated for the modern economy. Sorry, Lowly.

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

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Current news: Earlier reports of The Stand beginning on an airplane seem to be somewhat exaggerated, hopefully. 

I hadn’t heard of mercury-women before reading The Thinker’s Garden piece on early newsmakers in Britain. (If you like The Thinker’s Garden, they have a new project over at Godfrey’s Almanack!) 

Artisan globes? This sounds like my kind of company. 

For background music and sounds of all kinds, myNoise offers everything from white noise to coffeehouse clatter. How cool.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Hello, and welcome to the fall season! Maybe. It’s 92 degrees here. Halloween is on the way, regardless.

In 1961, we were optimistic about the future of medicine. And in some ways, we were right. Others…not so much.

A neural network attempted to name shopping malls, with some unpredictable results. I especially like Burning Park Mall and Complete Store of Mall.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Happy Friday! And happy Labor Day Weekend.

The pink Cadillacs are gathering in Detroit for Aretha Franklin’s funeral, to send her off in style. 

Remember Alison Moyet’s laugh from “Situation”? It’s become iconic, and here’s the story behind it.

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

Monday, August 27, 2018

Hello and happy Monday. We’re off for a few days and will be back at the end of the week. In the meantime, consider the (much more than fifty) shades of gray in the color spectrum, won’t you? Back soon!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Happy Friday!

If you’re interested in keeping up with the maelstrom that is American politics, Popular Information is an emailed newsletter which dives into the issues.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, they’re delving further into that weird sarcophagus and its contents. 

In Scotland, the hot weather has revealed an ancient Pictish symbol stone! 

Ronnie James Dio has sung his way off this mortal coil, but his belongings are part of an upcoming auction, and the variety of stuff there is amazing.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The prison strike has been overshadowed by, well, everything else going on this week, but it needs some attention.

For those interested in solving mysteries of the past: Consider becoming a Civil War Sleuth!

In work-related news, I am officially going to Internet Librarian this year. If you’re also going to be there in October, let me know!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

One British man is spelling out “STOP BREXIT” across Europe with the help of his GPS tracker. (Found via Strange Maps!) 

In other map news, here’s a brilliant world map showing where to live for optimum temperatures. (Once again, it shows me I am living on the wrong continent, unless I move to San Diego.)

And fear not, Halloween is coming sooner than you think! Here’s a fantastic way to make skull forms from milk jugs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Today is a long day, and one in which hitting each other with sticks (but with dignity!) sounds inviting.

Automobiles were almost called…a variety of alternatives, as it turns out. (I’m sort of partial to “diamote.”)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Hello, and welcome to another Monday.

World War I transformed artist and their art, for better or worse. 

Little Women still resonates today, and it’s not because it’s “all sweetness and light.” 

Labyrinths! Writers love them! Why, exactly?

Friday, August 17, 2018

Happy Friday. Wow. It’s been one of those weeks.

From a left-handed co-worker (I work with a lot of left-handed people): two articles on the joys and perils of being a lefty. 

Did you know Aretha Franklin has an asteroid named for her? NASA, along with the rest of the planet, mourns the Queen of Soul.

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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Today’s Tedium looks back at the history of Sears, including their catalogs. I was more into the Service Merchandise catalogs as a youngster. (I wish I’d kept some of those!)

Speaking of being a youngster, it is a little disconcerting to find out that Madonna turns 60 today. 

And now, for your library-related link, here are ten animals who just wanted to borrow some books. At least the owl got its own library card.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Today is really busy. So! Here are two links, both of which are worth some time.

1. Hospitals are TOO LOUD. How is anyone supposed to rest and recuperate? Here are some brilliant ideas on how to change the system. 

2. This world map shows cultures which recognize diverse genders. It’s really fascinating and I recommend it highly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


If you remember the wonderful works of Webomator (including, but not limited to, the Pulp-O-Mizer), its creator could use a little financial help. Why not purchase some art, or join the Patreon? 

How We Get to Next takes a look at the future we were once promised, and what happened to it. 

We Make Money, Not Art takes a look at the international airport, and what happened to it (and how bizarre it is now).

Monday, August 13, 2018

Happy Monday, and happy Left Handers Day! 

We have tremendous respect for Fred, the escapee goat who returned to free his fellow stockyard prisoners. (Thanks, Holly!)

The World Architecture Festival’s shortlist for 2018 is out, and it looks like angles are popular this year.

You may have read the recent story about McDonald’s and the Monopoly contest which went sideways, but did you know it was written in such a way as to create a bidding war for movie options? It’s true!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Happy Friday! The Perseid meteor shower happens this weekend. Unfortunately, it’s supposed to rain here. But if you happen to have clear skies where you are, go out and take a look.

For those of us not watching the skies, there’s always psychogeography to study. 

And now, your moment of moo: Cows help police capture a suspect on the run.

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

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Today ended up being about writing, plus a fun story about a traveling cat.

Business journalists should think like librarians. Or appreciate librarians, at least.

Once upon a time, someone stole some of William Butler Yeats’s letters, and now the letters have been found again! 

Vonnegut did not like semicolons, apparently. Vonnegut was WRONG, man. 

Richard Kadrey talks about his Sandman Slim series, plus some new work which sounds super interesting.

And now, here’s the story of Kiddo the Cat, who unintentionally became the first cat to (try to) cross the Atlantic by airship.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Today, we bring you a variety of links.

For the spooky fans: The weird and wonderful art of Olga Cornacchia. 

For the Muppet fans: Rita Moreno talks about singing “Fever” with Animal.

For the US map fans: The oldest building in each state (with a very white western focus, be warned – nothing before the 1600s!).

For the UK map fans: The bestselling musical artist from each English county. I am off to learn about some of these.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Hello. It’s a pretty dreary day here, so why not read some spooky stories?

Ralph Adams Cram was a respected architect, but wrote some “weird fiction” on the side, and here are two creepy tales from the 1880s and 1890s, I think. (If you like this sort of thing, I also just read The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley, which is from the 1930s and gets extremely weird indeed.)

If spookiness is not your thing this Tuesday, fear not! You can purchase your own Tilt-A-Whirl carnival ride! (Thanks, Holly!)

Monday, August 06, 2018

Happy Monday. We seem to be focusing on architecture this morning.

Did you know Mumbai is full of Art Deco buildings? I didn’t, but UNESCO has recognized them as World Heritage Site worthy! 

Meanwhile, Brutalist buildings in eastern Europe are falling apart, and Birou pentru Artă şi Cercetare Urbană (BACU) wants to preserve them. They’re also writing up some guides to buildings, such as this list of Moldovian cinemas. 

And now, for something completely different. Smash Hits! Here’s a look at what it was like behind the scenes! (I still wish I could have worked here. I wanted to write the Get Smart column, i.e. Linda Duff’s gig!).

Friday, August 03, 2018

Happy Friday!

In order to prepare for the uncertain future, I’m reading up on granny witches and also getting Ryan North’s book on how to invent everything. It’s good to be ready, just in case.

From Cassandra: Should we automate politicians? I mean, it certainly can’t be any worse…

From Julie: Cities are making animals evolve in unforeseen ways. 

Have a safe and spiffy weekend, everyone. We’re going to be exploring the World’s Longest Yard Sale! See you next week.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

And we're back! While we get caught up with everything, you can either find out other people's all-time favorite novels (there's a surprising amount of love for Moby Dick and The Great Gatsby), or you can gaze upon the fantastic library photos of Thomas Guignard, himself a librarian.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hello! It's another busy day, and then we are off on adventures for the next few days. Folderol should return late next week. Until then, enjoy our long blood moon eclipse (yikes) and stay safe. See you soon!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Home remodelers found a time capsule from a WWII soldier. If you’re in the Cleveland area, see if you know the house and/or its previous owner! 

There are zillions of movies about time travel, but which ones are scientifically accurate? Well…

I’m going to be out for a few days at the end of this week and part of next week (and seeing this concert  during that time!), so we’ll be featuring links from others throughout.

From Cassandra: The mysterious world of sleep. 

Also from Cassandra: Maybe it’s better to create one’s passion than spend a lot of time trying to find it.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Happy Monday!

The (ostensibly fictional) Scarfolk Council got some well-deserved (although unintended) recognition from the UK government last week. Now you know what to do if a child gets rabies! 

Retronaut is back, and the latest feature depicts some incredibly brave London “ironfighters.” 

Your spooky artist of the week is Josh Courlas. I love the stained glass piece.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Happy Friday!

The mysterious sarcophagus has been opened, and apparently it just contains three unidentified skeletons. That’s even WEIRDER.

From Zazoo: Two of Jim Henson’s children talk about growing up with the Muppets. 

From Holly: Chicago is vehemently opposed to ketchup. I had no idea!

Via Matt Staggs: A Canadian lynx found a way to use a camera crew to his advantage while hunting rabbits. (Beautiful footage of the lynx in the snow, too.)

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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Banksy is here to help the libraries of Bristol! Hooray!

Meanwhile, here in the bonkers USA, the Knights Templar order has been revivified. Sort of. (This seems like not such a great idea to me, personally.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Are you a Big-Endian or a Little-Endian? Well, it probably depends on where you live. 

Climate change might even affect criminal detection, with thermal cameras needing some tweaks. 

An entomologist rates ant emojis. (Who knew there were so many different ant emojis?)

And now, your moment of zen, courtesy of NASA. These are (most of) my favorite colors in one image.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I’ve gone back to playing 2048 in between reading the news, just to have something logical in this ridiculous timeline.

Honda’s friendly neighborhood Asimo robot has gone off to the AI afterlife. I checked on Aibo, and I’m happy to report it’s still around. 

If you have a spare $23 million, the house featured in Blade Runner and House on Haunted Hill (among many other films) is for sale. Some renovations are required due to earthquake damage, but who knows what spooky things could happen there?

Thanks to interns at the U.S. National Archives, we can look at some patents with a distinctly steampunky flair!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Happy Monday, and welcome to a special edition of Links from Others, normally reserved for Fridays!

From Julie: Five hundred years ago this summer, villagers in Strasbourg danced themselves to death. What happened, exactly?

Also from Julie: Newly discovered dinosaur skeletons reveal the existence of absolute units roaming the earth. 

From Matt Staggs and Curiosity Bomb: The recent heat wave in Wales is uncovering ancient settlement foundations. 

Also from Matt (among others): Who (or what) lies inside this huge black sarcophagus? A noble Alexandrian? A cursed mummy? Nyarlathotep?

From Satori: Scientists are puzzled about the purpose of hundreds of tiny carved spheres made in prehistoric times in Scotland. I agree with Satori, who says “some look suspiciously like role-playing die.”

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Hello! Would you like to live in a gorgeous monolithic dome? It can be yours if you have a spare five million dollars lying around. (Link from Bunny.)

Consider becoming a seed librarian. It’s fun, and you’ll be helping the planet!

The periodic table of the elements lends itself to all kinds of creative expression. This one has a haiku for each element, combining poetry with chemistry. Really, what more could one ask for?

Have a spiffy and safe holiday/week/weekend, everyone. See you soon! (We may be posting to our Instagram account while we’re out and about, so feel free to say hi over there!)

Monday, July 02, 2018

Happy Monday! We will be gone on various excursions over the next week or so; look for regular updates to start again around the 16th, maybe earlier. That being said, on to the links!

A long article about The National and my hometown, through the eyes of visitors from the UK, is a really interesting look at the band and our shared city. (Fun fact for Cincy locals of a certain age: Matt Berninger was on some of those 97X riverboat dance nights. I have totally forgotten what those were called; let me know if you remember!)

From Zazoo: Johnny Marr is not about to defend Morrissey these days. (Good call, Johnny.)

Here’s a wonderful way to spend some time: When a canal was drained in Amsterdam, all the objects in it were collected, scanned, and put online! Objects date from 2005 back to 10,000 BC (seriously), with tons of information about each find.

Friday, June 29, 2018

The news of the Capital Gazette shooting is awful.

There is still beauty in the world, though, and National Geographic has announced the winners of the Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. I recommend spending some time looking at all the entries. 

From Julie: A tomb thought to be the resting place of Lady Xia, grandmother of China’s first emperor, has also yielded the bones of a now-extinct gibbon (among other animals)!

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

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Well. This has been a week, hasn’t it. 

For daily updates, WTF Just Happened Today is a good source.

From 538: Entrenchment has led to some odd ideas about who makes up the US political parties.

In non-related news, check out Daniel Danger’s gorgeous artwork.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Today is National Writing Day in the UK, so write or type away!

Mars has gone into retrograde, which apparently is not as bad as Mercury going into retrograde but can still make life difficult. (Well, at least the world is calm and stable right n….oh.)

A compiled list of movies with a hauntology theme has shown me that I have not seen many films. (There are 190 movies on this list, and I’ve seen maybe a handful. Maybe.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Hello! It's a stupidly busy day here today, so I will leave you with one link, which ponders whether Charlie Chaplin invented the "distracted boyfriend" meme. (Evidence points to yes!). Many examples of the meme, plus the original film, can be found at the link. See you tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Happy Monday, everyone. Let’s do our best to get through all this and help everyone we can along the way.

A newly digitized archive is online, showing over 9.000 photos of the Middle East and Northern Africa! 

A traveler’s photographs of their tour of Egypt in the early 1900s used a newfangled gadget called a panoramic camera, resulting in fantastic images.

Marcel Breuer was part of the Bauhaus collective, and went on to design Brutalist buildings with a surprisingly sense of weightlessness.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

If you’re in the legal community, or you know someone who is, and you’d like to help the current situation at the border, here’s a link – share far and wide. 

A Digg video shows where American accents originated. (My own American accent is a horrible mishmash of New England, Chicago, and edge-of-Appalachia, apparently. No wonder I have trouble with public speaking.)

The shadowy cryptic figures behind the Mysterious Package Company are creating something new called Post Mortem, and you can sign up for shadowy cryptic details. 

Meanwhile, in Belgium, you can escape for a weekend in a “secret cabin” off the grid, not knowing where you’re headed until the last minute. (This sounds really cool.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hello. The world is, shall we say, not in a good place right now. Let’s do what we can to change that. In the meantime, here are a few minutes of escapism.

The world’s cities might have looked very different if some architects’ planned buildings had actually been built. The Atlantic details a few of these would-be structures. 

There was a time when zeppelins soared above the cities, and here’s an older entry from Gizmodo showing what that looked like. 

Artist Marcus DeSieno has created spooky “surveillance landscapes” from surveillance cameras capturing wide open spaces. They’re beautiful, and also creepy.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Hello and happy Monday… 

Art: Check out Mark Broyer’s After Hours photography. It’s lovely.

History: Americans learn about Benedict Arnold, but what exactly did he do? 

Art/Poetry; Meet Dom Sylvester Houédard, the beatnik monk or “monknik,” as he called himself.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Happy Friday, everyone.

From Julie: Continuing on our trains of the dead theme of the week, behold the Ghost Bus Tours of London, detailing the history of the Necropolis Bus Company! (I really want a Necropolis Bus Company badge and/or uniform.)

Local news: my city has several tours of our underground tunnels, including interesting facts about our (nonexistent) subway and our (quite good) beer!

Meanwhile, in Cape Breton, a gaggle of strongmen have arrived to pay homage to “Giant” MacAskill.

And finally, Dr Martens have added to their brand, with Joy Division and New Order themed boots! I love the Technique boots, although I fear I couldn’t quite get away with them at work.

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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Two paths today: one for sports, one for reading!


The World Cup begins today! Google has you covered via today’s Doodle, and John Green gives a super-quick rundown of all 32 teams. (Joachim Löw is described as looking like “an aging Beatle trying to hail a cab,” which is about right.)


Once upon a time, there was a brilliant James Joyce scholar working on the definitive version of Ulysses. Then he disappeared. What happened to him? 

Emma Garman has started a new monthly column, Feminize Your Canon, at the Paris Review, featuring overlooked and/or underappreciated women in literature. This month: Olivia Manning!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I have a desktop calendar at work, but I don’t do much with it. After seeing these amazing calendars created by a government worker in 1980s America, I am rethinking my attitude. It would be amazing to have a personalized history record like this!

The Elgin Marbles are still in London, and many people are unhappy about that. At least the marbles are being taken care of by conservation workers, however. (This is pretty fascinating if you’re into history and preservation.)

Earlier this year, I posted about the necropolis train in Los Angeles. Now it’s time to look at Victorian London’s contribution!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Greetings! We're back and getting caught up on everything. Back tomorrow at full strength, most likely!

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Quick, Americans – what job is most prevalent in your state? No worries, here’s a handy map! 

From Zazoo: Kat von D’s wedding dress was something else. (So was everything else about the wedding – check out the contortionist attendants, and the wedding cake!)

We’ll be gone the rest of the week on work-related business, so have a safe and spiffy weekend, everyone! See you next week.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Open Culture has a great, detailed look at the women of the Bauhaus movement. Relevant to my interests, as they say!

Also relevant: Martin Smith’s videos celebrating EPCOT as it was in the opening days. His latest, which we watched over the weekend, is all about the Communicore buildings. It's hard to overstate how much I loved Communicore.

From the same site as the previous link: Behold, news of haunted attractions!

Monday, June 04, 2018

Hello and happy Monday! We're doing some work-related travel this week, so posting will be sparse. We'll be back to normal schedule next week.

I was getting ready to write a screed about the theft of Anne of Brittany's "heart of gold" (her actual heart! In a gold reliquary!), but I found out that it has been recovered by authorities. Anne was really interesting, internal organs aside.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Happy Friday!

If you have some spare coin, the creator of Scarfolk could use a bit of it, due to some nefarious business complications.

Via Now I Know: The story of how Miami Vice came to define the 1980s, for a while at least. 

From Bunny: The Witch’s House in Beverly Hills has been restored, and there are amazing mosaics inside, plus all that lovely spookiness!

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Today we’re getting caught up on what I missed earlier in the week. (It’s Summer Associate Season in the land of the law firms and my attention is somewhat divided.)

First, and most importantly, a report on the annual Gloucestershire Cheese Race, plus a three-minute video of the most spectacular falls/bounces of the race. (Ouch.)

The Museum of Bad Art may have been linked before here, but it’s worth a second look!

The Catholic Church is slowly coming to terms with death…or, at least, how people handle remains after death. (Cremation rates are way up, evidently.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hello, and Happy Otter Awareness Day! It’s good to be aware of otters.

It’s also the anniversary of Joan of Arc’s death, and Dorian Cope commemorates the girl from Donremy. 

SALt is a new product, providing “Sustainable Alternative Lighting” via lanterns powered by saltwater. 

And in local news, we have a major league soccer team in town now!