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!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Good morning! As we get caught up from the long weekend, here is a VERY long post about hauntology music. If you’re looking for even more after that, the AV Club dives into the Boards of Canada discography. (I had not heard of Boards of Canada until now. Looking forward to exploring!)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s been a week, hasn’t it?

From Julie: Watch out for zombies, warns a Florida town! Oh wait, never mind, just a power outage. (Um…)

Via Twitter: We Are the Mutants examines the Entourage Music and Theatre Ensemble’s 1977 work with Nebraska Public Television. It’s pretty wild.

Some brave souls have been streaming the volcanic activity from Kilauea for days now – you can watch it live right now. 

And finally, many thanks to Holly for taking us out into the long weekend with this absolutely brilliant Sesame Street ‘80s homage! Have a spiffy and safe weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Smithsonian’s weblog brings interesting historical news, like this discovery of a cache of tablets written in Meroitic, one of Africa’s oldest written languages, and also of the effect climate change is having on Mongolian burial sites. 

In related news, how do we protect our rare books from the climate, going forward?

I follow a lot of authors on Twitter, including some dead ones like Shakespeare. There are many more out there, some automated, some curated by the living. It makes for some fun interruptions in the day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

World Goth Day was yesterday, but it’s never too late to enjoy some spooky words, courtesy of Merriam-Webster. 

The Order of the Good Death talks about Aztec mothers. Cassandra and I were discussing this and the concept of your afterlife being determined by the nature of your death. (Cassandra: “If you died by drowning, would you just hang out at the beach and wait to help others along?”)

Cities and Memory has a great soundscape project going on. (If you like this sort of thing, check out the Imaginary Soundscape!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How We Get to Next has a new series, titled A Visual History of the Future, and it looks like it’s going to be fantastic.

Speaking of futures and history, here’s a 1922 concept of color television. Loudspeakers weren’t invented yet, so you have a Victrola-like contraption for audio!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Happy Friday!

From Julie: Time travelers are welcome at Stephen Hawking’s memorial service in June. 

Also from Julie: Scientists may have found a drug to combat the common cold! 

From Cassandra: Working class people are more empathic. Also more fatalistic. Well, you’ll have that.

From the people behind Retronaut: Freevious, high-quality public domain photographs!

From Twitter: The hockey playoffs have extended to a (friendly) Twitter war between the Winnipeg and Las Vegas public libraries. 

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

Thursday, May 17, 2018

It’s that time of year when the ranking of baby names comes out! Liam and Emma are at the top. I am pleased to report that my name is getting rarer every year. At some point today there will also be a state-by-state breakdown. 

Here’s something useful on Twitter for those of us in the legal world: Big Cases Bot posts downloaded filings of important ongoing cases. Very helpful, and free!

The Vatican has warned nuns “not to overindulge” in social media. Pfft. Good luck with that.

Bill E. Lytton had the brilliant idea to layer hundreds of photos together to create a visualization of London’s iconic landmarks. It looks like an Impressionist gallery.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Oooo, go check out today’s Google Doodle of Tamara de Lempicka, and then go learn about her, because both the art and the woman behind the art are fascinating.

The world’s first online Sikh museum is on the way!

Did you know about burial shoes? They’re a little different than regular shoes, due to, well, rigor mortis and the like.

Wil Wheaton spoke to NAMI Ohio about chronic depression, and it’s very close to personal experience (except for the fame angle!). Take some time and read it if you can.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Today we look at world history, in an oblique sort of way.

In Egypt, scientific instruments have determined that there are no secret passages in King Tutankhamun’s tomb. How disappointing.

In Myanmar, women are educating children about health and hygiene with the help of traditional marionettes. 

Originally from Argentina, Arturo Bonafont’s treatise on cane defense is now available in English!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Happy Friday!

From Satori via Save Ellis Island: Did you know Chef Boyardee was a real person? It’s true!

From Cassandra: Historical gynecological tools. This is a New York Times article and it locked me out after I saw a few images due to the paywall, and honestly, that was perfectly all right with me. 

From Retronaut: London street style circa 1906. I would kill for some of these skirts and shoes. Can we bring back Edwardian fashion?

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

Thursday, May 10, 2018

It’s Thursday and that means, as per usual, that it’s busy. But here, I found something that can entertain for hours: Make Your Own Bayeux Tapestry! You can add and delete people, animals and more, and create intricate battlefields or total chaos, depending on your mood.

Cambridge University’s mysterious library tower is going to open for an exhibit! This looks like so much fun. 

For genealogists and historical researchers: Here’s a handy guide to phrases and abbreviations used back in the day.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Here we go on a quick trip round the globe!

The long-discussed underwater hotel in the Maldives is on its way to completion. I would love to see it, but think I would be terrified the whole time.

Behold the beautiful bird palaces of Turkey! 

In London, The Cauldron offers an immersive lesson in magical potion-making. Or cocktail-making. Same thing, really.

No matter where you are, you can enjoy the Cemetery Mixtape podcast. History and music! What’s not to love?

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

More art! Pete Amachree creates beautiful steampunk scenes – less gears, more atmosphere.

In a similar vein, bioluminescent insects have moved into an abandoned railroad tunnel in Australia, making it spooky and gorgeous. 

Over in the Netherlands, manmade earthquakes happen in Groningen as a byproduct of the nearby gas plants. Artist Sissel Marie Tonn has created The Intimate Earthquake Archive in response.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Happy Monday! Here are two artists for you.

Nick Georgiou makes incredible art out of books, and recently created scenes for Dolce & Gabbana. 

Masha Ivashintsova took over 30,000 photos of Soviet Russia; her daughter discovered them after Masha died and is putting them online, with accompanying stories. It’s amazing.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Happy Friday, and May the Fourth be with you! 

From Julie: Speaking of Star Wars, have you seen the plethora of Yoda-like creatures in medieval manuscripts? Seven hundred years old, he truly is!

Also from Julie: A postcard allegedly written by Jack the Ripper made a mint at auction.

Also also from Julie (thanks so much for sending all these great links, Julie!): “Corn much higher than an elephant’s eye,” thanks to an ingenious agricultural scientist!

March Mammal Madness may be over, but the alt-champion tardigrade (also known as TardiGandalf) is still winning over hearts and artists – take a look at the new swag available! 

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

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Today, let’s talk about ghosts.

Ghost nations: For a brief few years after the Bolshevik uprising, there were several dozen new nations in the former Russia. Here’s a look at many of them, complete with flags! 

Ghosts on campus: There are a few at the University of Vermont. 

Possible ghosts of ancient history: Archaeologists have discovered what looks like a mass child (and young animal) sacrifice in Peru, and are trying to figure out why the sacrifice occurred.

Ghost chickens! Well, not really. This is all about the Chicken of Tomorrow campaign, which aimed at (and succeeded in) getting more Americans to eat chicken. It also led to a delightful documentary. (Clicking on either link is not recommended for vegetarians, however.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Happy May Day! 

Did the Victorians have faster reactions than 21st century individuals? Maybe….but probably not, although it leads to some fascinating theories.

Paleofuture takes a look back at the life of the 1930s radio-equipped police officer. 

If you love space art, like Bunny, you will be thrilled by this IndieGogo campaign for a documentary on NASA artists!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Happy Monday. It looks like it’s going to be another exhausting week, so take a few minutes and travel down some of America’s quietest routes, thanks to Geotab and Google Maps.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Happy Friday! And a belated happy birthday to this weblog, which turned eighteen earlier in the month. Yes, 18 years of Folderol. It’s a legal adult now and can go its own way! (I’m not sure how much longer this will go on. Maybe we’ll shoot for an even 20 years?)

Anyway. Thanks so much for reading over the years. On to links from others!

From Bunny: “I Was Alive and I Waited For This” – an look back on what it meant to be a teenager in America as the Berlin Wall fell, and how events since then have not really turned out the way we thought.

From Cassandra: Alexa, please tell everyone the details of my private life. 

Also from Cassandra: Lou Reed and David Bowie in the age of Transformer

Found via Metafilter: Corey Press features medieval-like woodcuts of Lovecraftian monstrosities and more! It’s amazing, and I am seriously considering the purchase of a “Volo Credere” t-shirt. 

Found via Twitter: There was a horror-themed nightclub in Columbus, Ohio in the early 1940s. I had no idea, and think it should make a comeback ASAP!

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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

If you’ve got a way with words and are free in May, get thee to Austin for the 41st Annual O.Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships! (I am terrible at puns, but appreciate them.)

Looking for something to read? Here are a hundred books about libraries. I have read a few, but not many, so am creating a summer reading list!

The Shigir Idol is much older than archaeologists first thought – older even than the pyramids. This is so cool.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hello! Today I am captivated by Dale Bigford’s creation, Immortality for Sale. There are 20 lots of handmade props, each with a story behind it (here's the first one, for example)!

For those of you not so much into the spooky, fear not: It’s also World Penguin Day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What’s the birdcast for tonight? If you’re in the United States, find out with the help of real time migration maps! 

Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, the Louvre has created a roadside art gallerywith the help of local radio stations.

Tedium takes you through the history of the robotic arm. 

Retronaut has returned! (It never really went away. It’s a long story.)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Happy Shakespeare Day (and Monday)!

A David Bowie installation is now in a NYC subway station. Go check it out if you’re in the area. 

Mondo Mascots is one of the best Twitter accounts out there. Now there’s an article on the man behind all the crazy photos!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy Friday!

Janelle Monae is awesome. This is an unarguable fact. Here’s a NY Times article about her which also includes several of her videos!

Want better acoustics in your home/studio/gallery? Why not bury a horse skull under the floor? Seriously, that’s what was done back in the day, and it worked. From this same link, I found David Byrne’s “Playing the Building,” which is super cool.

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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

What’s it like to go into an Amazon bookstore – a real, brick and mortar Amazon bookstore? Chuck Wendig has investigated and reported on his findings! 

Curator John Overholt does a daily roundup of special collections images on Twitter, such as this one. It'sa great idea.

I know it’s Squirrel Week, but take a moment to consider participating in MuttMix, where you try to identify which breeds are in a dog. It’s for science, it's free, and you don’t have to be a dog breed connoisseur to take part!

Chrome has a lot of hidden (and surprisingly useful) bells and whistles. I didn't know many of these, so I'm spreading the word.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

An update from yesterday’s post: The angry badger has left the castle. Its demands, and (dis)satisfaction thereof, were not made public.

Britain From Above shows a panorama of 20th century Britain as seen from the air. (No word as to whether any badgers are in the photos.)

New York City stopped building subway systems in the 1940s. What’s up with that? Citylab investigates. 

Archaeologists have found the skeleton of a medieval man who not only survived an amputation, he even sported a knife as a prosthesis. You go, medieval knifehand man.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

It is Squirrel Week! How well do you know squirrels? (I, apparently, do not know squirrels well, even though I thought I had learned a lot during March Mammal Madness. Back to the books!)

In probably unrelated news, an angry badger has shut down part of a Scottish castle. Best line: “There was no indication as to why it was angry.” (Perhaps it’s upset there is no Badger Week?)

UPDATE: There is indeed a Badger Week, and it's Scottish Badger Week, at that! Calm down, angry badger, you'll have your time in the spotlight next month.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Happy Monday! We’re all still here, it seems.

I have not seen Muppet Guys Talking yet, but I will soon, and everyone else should, too.

In the meantime, here's a cheerful news item from Julie: Half of your body is not human. More than half, even!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Happy Friday the 13th!

In honor of the spookiness of the day, here's a long article about growing up in the 1970s and the “hauntology” aesthetic that resulted for many people, myself included. (This is all about Britain, but I think it was true for parts of America, too, at least in rural areas.)

From Satori: Just another day as a public librarian, getting punched in the face and all.

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

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Take some time to read about it, or to talk, or whatever suits your own situation.

When local newspapers shut down, we lose a lot of history – and also lose information about the spread of disease, for instance. 

Archive.org’s Magazine Rack has thousands of issues, all for free! I am partial to Smash Hits, but they have everything from Playboy to Soldier of Fortune to Atari Club.

From a coworker: a list of fierce fictional librarians. (Anyone else remember Rex Libris?)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Hi there. I got blindsided by a bronchial infection out of nowhere and have been out for a few days. While I work on properly breathing again, check out Adam Hall's art!

Friday, April 06, 2018

Friday, hooray!

Most of April 1st’s pranks and hoaxes were minimized by it being Easter Sunday, but Satori points to the Mutter Museum’s announcement as one that was especially well done. I agree!

From Twitter: Tokyo Fashion, which finds amazing people nearly every day.

Who owns 221B Baker Street these days? It’s a mystery worthy of former occupant Sherlock Holmes.

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

Thursday, April 05, 2018

March Mammal Madness has come to an end! You even get to see a tiny clip of us at the end. Many thanks to everyone for watching and encouraging us to participate in this wonderful performance science.


And now, for something totally different and for the library-oriented among us, check out the winners of the Edible Book Festival. You will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Hello! Unexpectedly busy today. Here are two links:

First, for the inventive and cheerful: Today's Google Doodle celebrates John Harrison's marine chronometer. 

Second, for the romantic and/or gloomy: A couple married for almost 73 years arranges to die together with medical assistance.

And also, here's the penultimate Rodent Recap:

Monday, April 02, 2018

Happy Monday!

Architecture: Should the Union Carbide building in Manhattan make way for something new? A fierce debate is raging. Meanwhile, here’s some information about Natalie de Blois, the architect of the building.

Art: In New Orleans, Kara Walker’s “Katastwóf Karavan” is finally in place. Listen for the calliope! 

Theatre: In that Scottish play, is the dagger Macbeth sees before him real or illusory? And how do you handle that on the stage?

Friday, March 30, 2018

Happy Friday!

Sunday is not only Easter, not only April Fool’s Day, but also “Whan That Aprille Day,” a day to “celebrate al the langages that have come bifor, and alle their joyes and sorrowes and richesse.”

Via Matt: The art of Burning Man comes to the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery! 

 And here is the Rodent Recap of the Elite Trait contest last night. The Final Roar is Monday and the championship battle is Wednesday!


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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Well, today was supposed to be Opening Day, but nature is not cooperating. Spring, therefore, is not officially here yet.

 However, the Sweet Sixteen of March Mammal Madness is here! The Elite Trait battles are tonight!


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Skellig Michael, aka the island in The Last Jedi, is stark and beautiful and fairly inaccessible. (Also, it has lots of puffins.)

Archaeologists have discovered remnants of Chicago’s White City while preparing for the Obama Presidential Center! 

The Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom is at the center of a huge fraud scandal. I think he would be pleased.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

More March Mammal Madness below! It all ends next week.

If you’re looking for something else, and if you were around in the 1980s and remember stories about the bizarre Bhagwan in Oregon, Netflix now has a documentary about the cult. (If you weren’t around in the 1980s, take a look anyway. This was a seriously weird episode in history.)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Happy Monday! It’s another busy week for us at Spooky Librarians HQ; things will return to semi-normal after next week.

Language: The Lewis and Clark expedition added hundreds of words to the English language. 

Art: Science has discovered some fascinating secrets behind Picasso’s artwork. Also related (and referenced in the article): did you know the Louvre has its own particle accelerator for art? 

Poetry and more: The Bohemian group at Carmel, California was creative and freethinking, and then they got obsessed with death and it all fell apart, more or less. (Poets!)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Happy Friday! Here's another recap of mammalian madness. Have a spiffy and safe weekend, everyone. Back next week with a more normal schedule!


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hi there. With illness, snowstorms, and March Mammal Madness, this week is kind of a wash. But here's the latest recap, and there will be another one tomorrow, and then hopefully we can reset to normal next week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

OK, we missed Monday due to a stomach bug of some sort, and are now catching up. In the meantime, here's another Rodent Recap!


Friday, March 16, 2018

Happy Friday!

It was another long night of March Mammal Madness, but it was very fun. Even the Washington Post is taking notice. 

 Have a spiffy weekend and St. Patrick's Day, everyone! See you next week.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hello! We are currently enveloped in March Mammal Madness (see below), but if you’re not into mammals for some reason, the CJR has a good, important story on the importance of a newspaper’s archives, especially in this transitory era of analog to digital.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Here’s a goldmine of old infographics, which are my catnip. (Please do not follow the “25 Ways in Which We Use Asbestos” advice.)

 How to combat fake news? Make a game of it! In Get Bad News, you try to create fake articles, and in doing so, you will hopefully recognize the signs of “fake news” in the wild, as it were.

 March Mammal Madness is upon us once again! Behold!