Friday, July 24, 2020

Hello and happy Friday! 

The Spooky Librarians are going to be on staycation for the next two weeks. Updates may happen, but may not, depending on when we get up in the morning. We may go to the World’s Longest Yard Sale, depending on weather and COVID numbers, but other than that, we don’t have much planned. 2020 is so strange. 

Anyway! On to links from others! 

From Cassandra: A new group, ReImagine Appalachia, is working to bring jobs and sustainability to the region. There’s much more on the organization here. Looks fantastic. 

From Satori: The “battles” among museums on Twitter have been providing much-needed culture and humor each week! The most recent competition, for “best bum,” is especially good. 

The Swedish island of Gotland is using medieval knights to encourage social distancing. I already wanted to visit Gotland; this is an added incentive!

 Have a safe and spiffy weekend/week, everyone. See you in August!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

I’ve been waiting to post a link to Baseball Theater for MONTHS now. It’s new and looks like it’s going to be an amazing resource for baseball fans, especially during this weird abbreviated season.

If you’re going to protests, be aware that tech companies may be following you via your phone, and then using your demographic information. 

Drive-in movies are having a renaissance in this pandemic-stricken world! You can search for drive-ins near you, or just soak up the nostalgia.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

For those of you who love maps and technology (like me), you may also love these real-time transit maps on circuit boards! (Found via The Map Room, which always has very cool map-related info.) 

For those of you who love space (like Cassandra), you may also love this simulation of sunsets as seen from other planets and moons. has a bit more information on how this came together. 

And for those of you who love David LaChappelle (like Zazoo and Satori), he’s back with a new installation in London! (Also, he has become a farmer in Hawaii. Like you do.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


There’s a website now dedicated to COVID innovations. The mother of necessity strikes again!  One fun new idea is LUSH’s mini-soap which dissolves in thirty seconds of handwashing. Good idea for kids! 

A yoga studio in Toronto doesn’t have to worry about such things – they were already socially distant, thanks to these tiny geodesic domes they use for hot yoga! (This is probably the only way I would do hot yoga. I could pretend it’s some utopian future.) 

Meanwhile, in Barcelona, the Gran Teatre del Liceu has reopened with a concert livestreamed to humans and with a theater filled with plants as an audience. I’m betting the plants enjoyed it a great deal.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Happy Monday! I've been spending part of my morning playing with Boil The Frog, a site that does a sort of "six degrees" connecting to musical artists. It's great for finding similar music to explore (although it doesn't have many of the more obscure artists, be warned.) Many thanks to Bunny for sending it!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Hi there. It's been a long week and I have no links left at the end of it all! So I'm taking today off. Back next week with more content. Have a safe and spiffy weekend, everyone.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Here’s something to distract a bit from current events: learn hieroglyphs! Google has a new project that teaches about hieroglyphs, shows you a way to send messages, and even offers a crowdsourcing project to help AI recognize damaged hieroglyphs for archaeologists and historians. Neat!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Hello! It’s a busy day behind the scenes, so here’s something short and goofy. In Rapid City, South Dakota, there are statues of every U.S. president in the downtown area. It’s like the Presidential Grove in my city, but a bit more…monumental. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Hi and happy Bastille Day. 

Followup from yesterday: My family has heard about the Berkshire UFOs, but has no additional information. (Also, there was a plaque to mark the alien arrival! But now it’s gone. Oops.) 

So many people have died this year, but Grant Imahara’s sudden death seems especially unexpected and unfair. 

Janelle Shane has some interesting facts about whales, many of which are completely false as she’s asked AI for the interesting facts. (There’s a good Darth Vader dialogue at the end, though.) 

As the pandemic seems to be zooming along quite happily through the summer heat, I think this is my socializing plan for the foreseeable future.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Hello and happy Monday. 

Window Swap is a lovely idea – you get to see a window view from someone else, anywhere in the world. Keep clicking to see more! You get city skylines, trees, the occasional cat or dog, and sometimes a waterfall or mountain range.

Usually, around this time of year, I’m out east visiting family. This year we’re not there, due to the pandemic, and nearly everything there is closed as well. It’s made for an interesting summer. However, the same region is also featured in a new Unsolved Mysteries episode, about UFO sightings in 1969. I had no idea! (I’m asking my family about it now.)

Friday, July 10, 2020

Happy Friday, all! 

From Cassandra: Look up this month and you may see a comet in the sky. (Right now, outside my window, it is sunny and raining at the same time, along with thunder, so anything is possible.)

 Local fossil hunters, take note: Dry Dredgers are amateur geologists exploring the region’s history (and rocks!). 

If you miss the weirdness of late night public access television, try EXP TV. It may bring back old memories, or serve as inspiration to create some new ones! 

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

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Hello! Here’s a public service announcement: Please do not microwave your library books. (2020 is SO WEIRD.)

 However, if you want to try this redesigned gin vending machine, I’m all for it.

People have always been interested in “weird news,” such as the above. Sir Hans Sloane lived in a few hundred years ago and collected strange news items along with his scientific research! (The British Library’s “Untold Lives” blog is the source of this gem, and highly recommended.)

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

I linked to Atlas Minor a few weeks ago, and I’m linking it again, because it’s oddly reassuring to see someone else in the same headspace. 

In the middle of summer, it may be refreshing (in a weird sort of way) to experience Antarctic expeditions and see how they dealt with the elements

In the middle of summer, however, you can sponsor a beehive at Green-Wood Cemetery. I love that the honey is called “The Sweet Hereafter.” 

And for something completely different: IKEA instructions for creating various horror characters, with bonus Han Solo in carbonite.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Hello! We’re back (although, to be honest, we didn’t really go anywhere). 

If you think 2020 has been a slog, imagine what Petrarch went through, living through 25 years of plague. Let’s hope we’re not going down that path. 

Thomas Becket’s shrine has been painstakingly recreated digitally. Now you can see what it looked like in the 1400s! 

Imagine that you’re helping a friend move into a new place, and suddenly your foot goes through the floorboards…and you end up falling into a well from the 1800s. (PSA: many old houses are not up to code!)

 In (only slightly) more recent news, Lee Miller is finally getting her due.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you’re all well and safe. 

The Spooky Librarians will be off next week, but we’re not actually going anywhere, so there may still be some random updates. Back to regular posting after July 4th

MoMA has a planned fall exhibit on home movies, which is completely my jam. I hope I get to see it, but if not, at least some of it is online. 

Kate Pierson of the B-52s has rental cabins and Airstreams in New York. Now she has Airstreams available in California’s desert, too! 

You may remember Pepper the hedgehog warrior from earlier posts. She has a companion, Tuck, who has joined the challenge! Also, hedgehog bowling has begun. 

An American ambassador to Great Britain is going to start another war between the two countries if someone doesn’t instruct her on the proper way to make a cup of tea. This is…not the way to do it! 

Have a safe and spiffy weekend and week and following weekend, everyone. See you in July!

Thursday, June 25, 2020


One of the bigger issues facing librarians at the moment is if/when/how to long to quarantine books. The latest studies seem to say 72 hours. 

Meanwhile, coins are becoming scarce. No, seriously. 

Also, a Saharan dust storm is on the way across the Atlantic. (Apparently this happens, to a lesser extent, nearly every year? But of course 2020 is extra.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Hello! Some bits and pieces for today, in very short sentences. 

Travel may not be that easy right now, but you can engage in some virtual tourism, at least. 

Thanks to paleomusicology, we may soon be able to hear what the music of Teotihuacan sounded like

MakeZine reports on how the Black Lives Matter street murals were created. 

Grave goods are the items left on tombstones, and they can be all sorts of odd and fascinating things. 

Atlas Minor is a new discovery. Hooray for weblogs!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Hi again. Still kinda swamped here. Back soon, honest!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Hello and happy Monday. Running late today; check back tomorrow for some links! Thanks.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Happy Friday, and happy Juneteenth! 

From Zazoo: “There's a petition in Tennessee to replace confederate statues with statues of Dolly Parton. Yes, please!” 

Also from Zazoo: Weird towns in the United States. There’s a lot of weird stuff out there, that’s for sure. 

Random news tidbit: Did you know hummingbirds can see colors we can’t?

My new favorite website is Drive & Listen, which takes you all around the world and lets you listen to the local radio. Right now I’m in Oslo!

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

Thursday, June 18, 2020

If you’re in America, you can track the COVID-19 infection rate by state over at Place your bets! 

As libraries reopen, there are lots of changes afoot, especially in public libraries. From this story, I found, which is definitely worth a look. 

Meanwhile, a huge Mayan monument has been discovered, thanks to remote sensing technology.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

So, the Royal Ascot races have begun, but no one can be there in person. No worries, people are putting on silly hats at home for the occasion! 

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, you can watch people try to do the Time Warp in front of a statue of Riff Raff. (Every time I check, no one’s there because it’s the middle of the night, but you may have better timing.) 

Feral House Publishing often has great offerings, and they’re diving into “Tramp Lit,” like A Tramp’s Philosophy and The Lives and Extraordinary Adventures of Fifteen Tramp Writers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Hooray for some good news, courtesy of the Supreme Court, of all places! 

If you’re casting about for something to read, check out HiLoBrow – especially this list of 250 adventure novels. 

For smaller adventures, why not read Bess Truman’s account of wanting to bob her hair?

Monday, June 15, 2020

Hi and happy Monday! Back tomorrow with some links, honest.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Greetings! I'm having a very hard time getting started today, so there's just one link. Imagine you wrote a book about your life. What would the cover be? Makes you think!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Have you heard of Doggerland? It was once a settlement on the land between England and Europe, now far under the sea. But archaeologists are exploring the remnants. 

If you find that a vampire killing kit is suddenly necessary (hey, I can't judge, who knows what else can happen this year), this should cover everything you need. There’s even a handbook and other materials you can print out! 

And finally, Screenshots of Despair is here for your recommended daily allowance of absurdist gallows humor.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Someone has finally found Forrest Fenn’s hidden treasure in the Rocky Mountains! Now, the legal wrangling begins... 

Crouch Rare Books have made some of their wonderful maps into digital jigsaw puzzles you can play for free!

 Wondermark ponders how our current actions impact the future. (Also, timecops.) 

I know I always link to the Public Domain Review, but this week’s offering is something really special. It hits all my buttons – history, geography, sound, and an overall feel of hauntology. Check out Julian Chehiran’s essay.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Happy Monday, everyone!

Just one link today, but it's a glorious one: Bizarre food platings from restaurants. They start out relatively normal and get increasingly demented! Back tomorrow with more.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Happy Friday!

 From Zazoo: A new Sesame Street town hall is coming this weekend. 

From Cassandra: Some calm words from a leader? Who’d have thunk it? 

Julie Noelke’s April self explains the pandemic to her January self. Then her April self gets a visit from her June self. Really, 2020 is…something else. 

Castext is offering free access to attorneys working pro bono for protesters, journalists, and more. 

Stay well and safe, everyone. See you next week.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Tuesday, June 02, 2020



Take a trip back with us, won’t you? 

1918: Video chat is predicted with “Telephot,” which looks very steampunk and slightly cumbersome. 

1937: Behold Keedoozle, the first automated grocery store! It looked amazing, but evidently was a bit too ahead of its time. 

1968: The Whole Earth Catalog makes its first appearance! Over fifty years later, we now have the Warp Earth Catalog, a mixtape of sorts for these tumultuous times.

2002: Meet Cleaver Theatre makes its first appearance! And now in 2020…we’re back! Check out the first new episode!

Monday, June 01, 2020

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you’re all safe and well. 

Christo, artist extraordinaire, has died at the age of 84. 

A pristine mosaic floor from Roman times was unearthed in Verona! It’s incredible. 

How did Renaissance architects create those domed cathedrals? Researchers have a new theory. 

Tedium has a great post on the theme music of Sherlock Holmes over the decades.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Happy Friday, all! 

Sanctuary Astrology sends out an occasional newsletter, and their most recent was “free fun stuff to do for each sign.” They had all sorts of interesting resources, but the best was Astronaut, a website that shows you bits of the newest and most “unseen” videos uploaded to YouTube. We got hooked on it last night and saw everything from graduations to accordion playing to classes, all around the world! 

Have a safe and spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week. To show you how our week has been, here’s an update from MC Marmot, trying to land the March Mammal Madness Recap satellite.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hey you! Wanna be a DJ? Now you can mix to your heart’s content using public domain music, thanks to a new project from the Library of Congress! It’s still a work in progress, but it looks like fun. 

Speaking of music, Janelle Shane asked some AI to write some song lyrics. It…did not go well. At all! Although some of it did turn out rather poetic. 

 And here’s something great: a squirrel obstacle course! No squirrels were harmed and it’s a fantastic look at how ingenious they are.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Street artists have reflected society’s recent changes. Check out The Rebel Bear for some especially good stuff!

 In local news, the Bicycle Card company is being demolished; here’s a neat little story from their history about hiding secret maps in a card deck.

 For something completely random, experience Pac-Man as a first-person shooter!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Happy Friday and happy long weekend, although it’s very weird this year! 

I used to work at a newspaper, long ago when news librarians were a thing, and this is how I remember the workplace. 

For some entertainment, check out Live from Snack Time, where NYC children tell you how it is. My current pandemic-related favorite: “Adult: Well, how’s your family, are you getting along? Kid: Well, they aren’t my family anymore.” 

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

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Today’s Google Doodle is a wonderful musical odyssey which teaches you about the mbira! 

If you’re stuck inside (or bored of going on neighborhood walks), try quarantine bingo

If you have access to some good paper and you love vintage computers, try recreating them via Papercraft! 

And finally, the Public Domain Review has a fantastic book on old English customs. Did you know that hot cross buns date back to Roman times?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


How about some games today? You can be a Marginalia Hero, fighting medieval beasts with a click of the mouse! Or you can try navigating the International Space Station with NASA controls, which looks incredibly difficult. 

It’s the centennial of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, huzzah, and here’s a look back at the film. Love those sets.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Hello! Crazy busy day here as we start to talk about "reopening" and all that good stuff. Back soon with links!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Happy Monday! 

In the art world, there’s a battle going on to save Oslo’s Picasso murals. 

In the history world, there’s a battle going on about forged and/or stolen Biblical-related papyri. 

In the film world, there is…no battle, hooray, just a story about how several stuntmen embodied Jason Vorhees over the years. 

In the AI world, things are always weird, and this collection of escape rooms is no different. (I particularly like “The Room with a Chance of Being In It.”)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Happy Friday, everyone!

We don’t have much in the way of links today, so please enjoy the sounds of a treehouse with a fireplace during a rainstorm (sounds unsafe, but hey), and we’ll see you next week. Have a safe and spiffy weekend, everyone.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Today we’ve got some links about medieval Britain and modern America to entertain you. 

First, the Yanks.  At the Library of Congress, one of their efforts aims to use AI in the Chronicling America newspaper digitization project. 

Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s airport now has a giant floor-scrubbing robot zooming around. 

In Shakespeare’s time, the plague was a regular occurrence that often shut down theatres for months. Pestilence and plague mentions abound in his works. 

Over at the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, you can see and hear a whole cacophony of creations!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

One of my favorite places in the world, Mont-St-Michel, is having a rough time during the pandemic. 

Vogue takes you on a virtual tour of vintage Paris. If you like the old film that's included, you’ll love Guy Jones’s YouTube channel, where many vintage films are available! 

The Met Gala’s theme this year is “About Time,” and the gala itself had to be postponed until possibly October. The exhibit looks amazing (as always) and happily, people at home celebrated Gala time by creating fantastic DIY versions of previous looks. (I was really looking forward to this year, with the theme and all; I hope they get to have it later this year.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Creativity in a time of crisis! 

Maker Faire is going virtual this month, check it out. 

Our local arty neighborhood is making “scarecoronas” to put in their front yards! 

In other local news, the May Festival – and other choirs – is trying to deal with the pandemic’s effect on singers.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Happy Monday, everyone. 

A year ago, we went on a cross-country trip (and boy, are we glad we did it last year instead of putting it off). We stayed in a hotel in Iowa that had a room devoted to Dvořák and I didn’t know the whole story behind it, but evidently he came to Iowa and found a spiritual home of sorts there. 

Can we escape from information overload? One artist tried to live in complete darkness for a month. He went slightly mad during the experiment (and his eyes changed color temporarily!!), but it sounds fascinating. 

Autocar has a fun slideshow of never-sold Volkswagen models. 

XKCD is always great, but I particularly love this one. Once again, could anyone have imagined this world a year ago?

Friday, May 08, 2020

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is safe and well out there. 

From Cassandra: The surprising boldness of Kentucky governor Andy Beshear. 

Also from Cassandra: Remote teaching as an introvert. 

From Zazoo: A followup from yesterday’s Sesame Street article, about how the show got its name! 

Also from Zazoo: RIP to Kraftwerk member Florian Schneider. 

The BBC has made dozens of images of show sets available, from AbFab to Doctor Who, so you can use them as backgrounds! 

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

Thursday, May 07, 2020

While current events are more or less at a standstill, why not look back at history?

 That’s what Slate did with this look at the box office from 1922. 

Also, Craig Calcaterra writes about “Today in Baseball History” while the current season is on pause. 

The Library of Congress is 220 years old this year, and is celebrating online. 

The New Yorker writes about 50 years of Sesame Street! While there are some problems with the article (for instance, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood did not stop in 1975!), the story about the brainstorming session for the show name is brilliant.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Museums have been holding virtual “curator battles” every Friday online, and their “creepiest item” showdown is one for the ages. If you’re on Twitter, check out their latest, which I think is about hats!

An enterprising British brewery is offering Londoners a “pub in a box,” complete with Spotify playlists and snacks!

Tuesday, May 05, 2020


We haven’t checked in with Public Domain Review for a while, but behold, they have public domain Zoom backgrounds for you. 

We have the 21st century dystopian pandemic now. Where are the utopian flying cars? Back in the 1970s, there was an attempt to create a flying Pinto. It…did not go well.

Meanwhile, archaeologists have discovered remnants of an early multicultural community in Europe. 

Bill Lucey explores the wide world of podcasts! (Like him, I have not devoted much attention to podcasts yet. Someday soon!)

Monday, May 04, 2020

Hello and happy Monday!

The Supreme Court has finally entered the 21st century. Today, you can watch a livestream of oral arguments in a case. 

And speaking of history and whatnot, Folderol celebrated its 20th anniversary sometime last month. Twenty years of links! How crazy is that? Thanks to everyone who has read, commented, sent in links, and supported this tiny little endeavor throughout the years.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Happy May Day (both ancient and modern) and Beltane and Friday!

From Cassandra: Quarantine workouts for every astrological sign! (I’m particularly intrigued by the one for Aquarius, via Haus of Sweat.)

Also from Cassandra: Frida Kahlo knew how to handle being isolated. 

From Bunny: “A playlist to ‘music in dead malls’.... the new hip thing. People are taking pictures of empty and abandoned malls and playing audio manipulated music over them. It's nostalgia, creepy atmosphere and depression all rolled into one! My personal fave on the list (so far) is 'God Only Knows' by the Beach Boys.”

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

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Since we're not supposed to go out this Walpurgis Night (and some towns are getting creative on suppressing any would-be revellers!), let’s go on some virtual tours, shall we?

House Beautiful has a list of gorgeous libraries to tour. (I’ve been to the JP Morgan library and can vouch that it’s amazing.)

The Cincinnati Zoo has daily “home safaris.” 

The Smithsonian offers virtual tours of their Natural History Museum (among others).

And the National Parks have virtual tours as well, for all sorts of really interesting places!

If you have no desire to visit anything, even virtually, here’s some great news: LibraryThing is now free, so you can catalog your home library to your heart’s content!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Hello! Do you need a haircut? If so, there’s a service that aims to help! 

The good folks who bring you Improbable Research and the igNobel ceremonies now have a weekly podcast. 

Today’s New York Times has a short video by dancers featuring a hand routine. I’m all about finger dancing, aka tutting, and this is a nice slow relation.

An upcoming book of photos shows London then and now through reggae albums. It looks fantastic.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Thanks to the pandemic, I may finally learn the rules of cricket! Google Doodles is re-running its most popular games, including one where you play cricket as a cricket.

Online reference is as busy as ever, but if you’re a bit luckier and have some extra time these days, you can take all sorts of interesting free online classes. Coursera is just one site offering some free content!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Hello and happy Monday! 

History: Social distancing was a bit more severe during the Black Death. 

Literature/history: The Byron bloodline was full of mad and bad behavior. 

Music: The Guardian started a series called “Listeners Digest” and you can explore the back catalogs of Kraftwerk, Bjork, Nina Simone, and many more!

For fun: From Zazoo: “In Spain, people can leave their homes to walk their 'pets' so they're getting creative...”

Friday, April 24, 2020

Happy Friday, everyone.

Also, happy 30th birthday to the Hubble Telescope! For something with such an unsteady beginning, it’s had an incredible life.

From Satori: “A similar epidemic in Northern China in 1910/1911 originating from the marmot fur trade… a very interesting compare/contrast on why and how it didn't get out to the rest of the world."

And finally, meet Pepper the hedgehog, conquering the increasingly difficult living room obstacle course! (The narration is wonderful.)

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

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Most sports are on hold right now, but the Name of the Year Tourney is just getting started! Go and marvel at the monikers some people carry.

If you’re in the midst of virtual meetings these days, you can liven up your background with Star Wars locations. 

If you like British sci-fi and interior design, you’re in for a treat: The chairs of Doctor Who and the chairs (and episodes) of Blake’s 7! 

And finally, I’m surprised and impressed with the way the internet has (mostly) held up under the sudden strain. Thanks, Vinton Cerf, and I hope your recovery continues!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Happy 50th Earth Day! Even if there isn’t much in the way of outdoor activities this year, there are lots of ways to observe today. The official Earth Day website has a planned day of live events to watch. NASA and the EPA also have their own pages for today.

And if you’d like to travel around a bit virtually, GeoGuessr is still around! They’re offering pro accounts these days, but you can still play for free.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Has the pandemic spoiled your birthday/spring break/vacation? Take a look at what one Australian family did to simulate their cancelled trip to Europe! 

(More soon, hopefully. Busy day here.)

Monday, April 20, 2020

Hi all! It’s a very Monday-feeling Monday here.

However, don’t worry – there’s art to celebrate, including bad art! This is a local (to us) initiative that begins on Wednesday. Go online and create something, even if you have no artistic talent whatsoever!
Meanwhile, for your artistic textual needs, check out Lordess Foudre, who has been contributing art to Warren Ellis’s weekly newsletter and is amazing. 

And there’s even art to be found in signs relating to the pandemic – here’s a collection of “due to COVID” signs!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Happy Friday, everyone.

As the glaciers melt, people are finding some amazing artifacts under the ice and snow. 

If you have Java or Flash, enjoy a few moments of zen with This Is Sand. 

From Cassandra: Does your brain tingle? Hers does, mine doesn't. Weird.

From Zazoo: “Here's something super cute: highlights from the Sesame Street coronavirus special.”

Stay safe, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Hi there. We’re mostly back, but this will be a little short!

MAKE Magazine calls for a new movement – the Civic Response Corps. 

Law librarian Greg Lambert has a podcast for the current times called “In Seclusion,” where he explores what the legal and researcher worlds are doing these days.

From Cassandra: Is an out-of-body experience actually an inner ear problem? Maybe!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Hi all. Still here, but experiencing some technical difficulties. Back soon with more links!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Happy Monday!

Bernie Sanders may no longer be running for president, but you can still have him run through a Mario-like platform game! 

Did you know crossword puzzles didn’t appear until 1913? There were several other word games out there already, however. 

As the current situation has drawn a lot of comparisons to wartime, here’s a story about a musician who played to BBC listeners during the start of World War II.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Happy Good Friday, everyone. Hope you’re all well and safe.

From Cassandra, a bunch of good reads: David Bowie’s final years, how to comfort an upset friend, and a story of Kentuckians driving out Illinois carpetbaggers (“This is how we do it in Kentucky, baby!”).

If you’re wondering how your county/state is doing in terms of social distancing, there’s now a scoreboard you can consult. There are a lot of mitigating factors, obviously, like the population of essential workers and how far away one needs to travel and whatnot, but it’s an interesting site.

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

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Even in a pandemic, Thursdays are busy.

Street artists have seized the moment to reflect the current state of everything. 

Some archaeologists must not play video games, where you must explore every nook and cranny. They finally looked below a mummy (after about a hundred years) and found paintings of a goddess at the bottom of her coffin!

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

It’s Holy Week, and at Warsaw’s Temple of Divine Providence, a priest is hearing drive-in confessions. Necessity and invention and all that!

Meanwhile, the Center for Inquiry (the Skeptical Inquirer people) have a live website dedicated to quashing scams and miracle cure claims related to the coronavirus. 

If you’re home baking, why not consider these Dungeons & Dragons-themed cookie cutters?

And finally, for something completely different: here are vintage photos of the Grateful Dead’s “wall of sound” for live performances. I’m not a Dead fan, but I can appreciate the technical wizardry here!

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Hello! Here are some random links.

Quarantine life, part 1: Four roommates recreate classic paintings, using what they have in their home. The results are pretty amazing, frankly. 

Quarantine life, part 2: An Italian priest livestreams Mass…but forgets to turn off the Facebook filters. Hilarity ensues!

If you’re looking for a different take on personality tests, here’s a detailed one which then shows your closest matches from a variety of different films and TV shows. B and I both took it, and he is Mr. Burns while I am Lisa Simpson, and Petyr Baelish (aka Littlefinger) while I am Samwell Tarly. Ha.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Hello and happy Monday. Hope everyone is safe and well.

Since most of the world isn’t traveling right now, museums and historical sites are opening up virtual tours. Here’s a list of seven; I’m looking forward to exploring Versailles, and the Musee d’Orsay site has a section talking all about the history of the building.

You never know where Salvador Dali will turn up – even in a North Carolina thrift store, apparently! 

Bunny saw Utopia’s “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” video right when MTV started up, and then never saw it again. He thought it was a fever dream until he saw it again last week. No one we know remembers seeing it, either, but the song is practically guaranteed to stick in your head (and the video will confuse you with its bizarre art direction choices). Enjoy!

Friday, April 03, 2020

Happy Friday, everyone. Hope you’re all safe and healthy.

From Holly: A cellist finds herself stuck inside with her cello and a roomful of puppets. Hilarity ensues! 

In more puppet news, also from Holly: The Jim Henson Collection is offering a virtual museum tour on Mondays. 

Google has a new Doodle today, encouraging people to stay inside and stay safe. (Wow, our society has changed dramatically in the space of a few months…)

From my uncle: The new 9-to-5 anthem! "Workin' 9 to 5...or whenever to whenever..."

See you next week, everyone. Stay safe.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

We're finally at the end of March Mammal Madness! Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

In these parlous times, at least we have Dolly Parton to help. She’s going to read bedtime stories! 

Meanwhile, in Wales, a large herd of goats have overrun a small town. I think the town could work with this and figure out a way to get the goats to landscape the place.

I work in Ohio but live in Kentucky, so I have to listen to two different governors talk about pandemic issues. Fortunately, they’re both doing a fairly good job; our Kentucky governor even has a meme following.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

We have, at last, reached the end of March. But we have not quite yet reached the end of March Mammal Madness - here's our recap of the Final Roar.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope everyone is doing okay.

In one Paris street, they had to abandon a WWII film set before the lockdown began, so it’s even more surreal there than it is for the rest of us. 

You can take a virtual tour of the Winchester Mystery House, which I highly recommend; it’s a wild place.

Some NYC booksellers have banded together to create The Bookstore at the End of the World. Check it out and support some small businesses.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Happy Friday, everyone! Here's some March Mammal Madness for you. Stay safe.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Good morning! Here are the roving rodent reporters to tell you all about last night's Sweet 16 battles.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

For the people concerned about the present: here’s what makers can do in this time of COVID-19. 

For people who’d like to revisit the past right now, here are the latest 25 inductees into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry. New members include Hildegard von Bingen, Fred Rogers, the Village People, Maria Callas’s recording of Tosca, and the broadcast of “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”

 Stay safe, everyone.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hello everyone! We have some more Mammal Madness for you!


Monday, March 23, 2020

Friday, March 20, 2020

Happy Friday, everyone! Today, we bring you some videos.

First, a teacher sings of surviving the move to online instruction. (This is hilarious and well worth your time.)

Next, our roving rodent reporters recap last night's March Mammal Madness battles, and do a little singing of their own.


 Have a safe and hopefully spiffy weekend, everyone. Stay safe, and see you next week.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hello! Here's our latest Rodent Recap of March Mammal Madness. Stay safe, everyone.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hi, everyone. Unsurprisingly, posts will be even more erratic for the next few weeks, between working from home and March Mammal Madness. But we’ll post when we can!

Once Disneyland reopens, look for the interpretive dancers. 

The Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea scrolls were actually created in the 20th century. Oops.

Being isolated doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. Look what they did in China. Keep dancing!


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Happy (very strange) St. Patrick’s Day, everyone. No parades this year, but a “reverse parade” or “virtual parade” is taking place, with artwork posted to the outside world. 

Here’s something fun: Moog and Korg have released free synthesizer apps during this time of isolation. Go nuts and make some great music!

Also, March Mammal Madness continues, and here’s our latest recap. Stay safe, everyone.


Monday, March 16, 2020

Hi everyone. We're still here and fine, but posting will be pretty erratic as we deal with all these current events. March Mammal Madness is still going on and we'll post recaps as they happen! Stay safe, everyone.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Well, happy Friday the 13th, everyone. Hope everyone is as well and safe as can be, considering the circumstances.

From Zazoo: You know things are bad when a conference on coronavirus gets canceled due to…coronavirus. 

From Cassandra: How should one dress for the surveillance age? 

A flashback from the Guardian: Soap advertising during the 1918 influenza outbreak. 

From the web: Students in Taiwan have created a LEGO disinfectant dispenser! 

 And finally, there was March Mammal Madness last night!


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

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Ha. Remember yesterday, when I said things were starting to get weird? I had no idea, obviously. These are strange times indeed.

However, March Mammal Madness continues to be a welcome (if slightly exhausting) distraction. Here's our recap of last night's battles.


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

So. Wow. How IS everyone out there? It’s getting awfully weird.

In what may not be the best timing, Egypt has just reopened the newly restored step pyramid of Djoser. It’s one of the oldest (if not the oldest) pyramids, and it’s pretty amazing.

In local weirdness, here’s a story about a man who saw Jesus in the trees in 1914. Really! It took me a few minutes to see it, and usually I’m all about the pareidolia.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Greetings! Guess what time it is:

Welcome to March Mammal Madness season! Links may be somewhat spotty as we devote a whole lot of energy to this in the coming weeks. Join the fun if you can!

Friday, March 06, 2020

Hooray, we have made it once again to Friday. We’ll be off again next Monday, but then we’ll be back – in earnest, as March Mammal Madness begins next Monday evening and our rodent recaps will follow!

Several links from Cassandra (many thanks!):

 Harmony Cox details her “life as a public health crisis;” this is a great read and very true.

 The cultural history of red lipstick, huzzah.

 This quiz purports to tell you how old you are, based on the foods you love and hate. Cassandra was 11, B. was 21, and I am 32, apparently. (I have absolutely no idea how I got the oldest result. Feel free to wildly speculate.)

Someone managed to run their truck into a moai statue on Easter Island. Who knew this was even possible?

Meanwhile, in Iowa, an angry ex-husband asked for “trial by combat” in a divorce case. The court, unsurprisingly if disappointingly, did not grant his wish.

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

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Gathering accurate information about the coronavirus is…challenging. Fortunately, ResearchBuzz has a roundup page with links, and Newsguard is keeping track of all the sites spewing misinformation. 

You can’t please everyone; even national parks get one-star reviews. Amber Share created some posters featuring the silliest ones! (Also, if you like these sorts of posters, check out the original WPA national park posters at the Library of Congress site.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Wednesdays are the new Thursdays (i.e. busy).

Warren Ellis fans, rejoice – Freakangels is going to be an anime series! I can’t wait.

Mapmakers have fascinating inner lives. Here are tiny illustrations hidden in official Swiss maps.

Subterranea Britannica is all about exploring underground structures. No word on whether they hide illustrations in maps.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Friday, February 28, 2020

Happy Friday! It’s a big day here. But first, some links from others.

From Cassandra: A new and intriguing theory about Easter Island.

From Zazoo: Possibly the most messed-up U.S. map you’ll ever see. I’m excited to discover I now live near so many unsettled territories.

The beautiful, otherworldly art of Kay Nielsen, who briefly worked for Disney.

And now, the announcement: It’s time for March Mammal Madness! The 2020 bracket is here, and here’s a recap of what we’ll be doing all through March. Expect a lot of scattered goofiness on here as a direct result. (Also some random rodent-biased trash talking on Twitter via my alter ego.)

Have a safe and spiffy weekend, everyone. We’re off on Monday again (this will be happening for a few weeks, due to various dental adventures) but we’ll see you next week.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Normally I wait until Monday to share the art-related links, but today is an exception because 1) we’re going to be out on Monday and 2) tonight is Surrealist Film Night at the Dali Museum! (Of course they’re showing Un Chien Andalou.) It’s part of the ongoing Midnight in Paris exhibit, which has all sorts of fun extras.

Also from Monday’s links: Check out Cheap Old Houses on Instagram. Some of the houses look awful on the outside but are still amazing once you get in the door.

NIOSH tried AI crowdsourcing to help code their injury narratives, and it worked pretty well! No report on whether anyone was injured during the process.

Forget the Dewey Decimal System. Forget Library of Congress headings. Now there’s…Subject Savvy? (I think this is akin to bookstore organization, but I’m not completely sure.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Hi there. Things are stupid busy today, so I will drop this amazing video here for now and possibly return with more substance soon!


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Hello! Let’s take a quick random walk through history, shall we?

First off: the wonderful mosaic patterns of Tunisia. 

Next, here’s Charles Hemstreet’s Nooks and Corners of Old New York, published in 1899 but focusing on much older buildings and streets in lower Manhattan.

From there, we go to a WWI reenactor who makes her costumes as historically accurate as possible, and honors the real life WWI surgeon Dr. Anna Tjomsland.

And finally, in the present day, let’s read about the great Buenos Aires bank heist of 2006!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Hola and happy Friday!

But wait.

Could it be a Friday with no links from others? And no links of our own? Yes! (It must be February.)

We're off on Monday as well, but will be back on Tuesday, hopefully armed with some links to share. Have a safe and spiffy few days, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

How do you decide if a photo on social media is real or fake? NYT Open has a two-part series delving into the conundrum facing news organizations and readers alike.

Meanwhile, there are now pigeons in Vegas wearing tiny MAGA hats. (This is real, amazingly enough.)

The University of Saskatchewan has developed an app to guide readers through The Canterbury Tales, and Terry Jones was a contributor!

As March Mammal Madness approaches, we’re checking out public domain images, and I’m happy to report that Creative Commons has a much improved website and search engine.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Today: Map fun! And Stevie Nicks, also for fun.

Do you know where the Middle East is? I mean, could you draw a border around the region? Probably not, and you’re not alone. 

Found for genealogy, but interesting for everyone: Map of US shows how the states were formed, and also has a separate page for each state which shows how the counties formed, plus a lot more.

What’s the oldest operating company in the world? Well, it dates back to 572 AD. Yes, really! This fantastic map shows the oldest company in (almost) every country. (Special shoutout to Sean’s Bar, operating in Ireland since 900.)

If maps don’t interest you, perhaps the early artwork of Stevie Nicks will? It’s a bit pre-Raphaelite in places.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Greetings! Mercury is in retrograde and as a result (well, maybe), we're having some network issues. At any rate, this will be a short one.

I don't know if there's an untranslatable word for tangled networks or retrograde Mercury, but if there is, Eunoia probably has it somewhere. 

Behold, a history of vending machines! 99 Percent Invisible looks at two millennia worth of the idea.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Happy Monday!

The last decade was filled with not just EDM and dubstep, but also a great deal of ambient and new age music. (Plus, the re-release of Plantasia, a Spooky Librarians fave, is mentioned!)

The letters from T. S. Eliot to Emily Hale are finally open to researchers, and they seem to be…well, depressing. 

Raphael’s tapestries are returning to the Sistine Chapel, to mark the artist’s 500th birthday.

An ongoing exhibit at Yale celebrates the pre-Raphaelite “Victorian Radicals.” 

What does your name look like in colors? Thanks to a new website and a synesthete, you can see how someone with synesthesia “sees” your name!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Friday and happy Valentine’s Day!

March Mammal Madness is approaching, stealthily, like a…stealthy creature. But look, there are valentines this year, with hints as to the 2020 contenders! 

I’m all for Anna’s new map of the USA, even with “Ohio 2.” I have the same argument about Idaho as she does about Wyoming. Are we really sure these states exist?

They Might Be Giants is celebrating the 30th (!!!!) anniversary of their “Flood” album. It still holds up.

From Nicole: Which zodiacal dog breed are you? 

Did Jeanne Calment really live to be 122? It’s a bit of a controversy, but it looks like she really did.

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

Thursday, February 13, 2020


When Google Reader vanished, I looked for other RSS readers and settled on Inoreader. They’ve been great, and now offer a feature that lets you add newsletters to feeds. It’s very helpful if you’re trying to reduce email!

The Wall Street Journal, of all places, has an excellent article about New York City’s “hidden” member libraries. The article is behind a paywall, but the libraries themselves are as follows:

The New York Society Library 

The General Society Library

Center for Fiction 

Poets House

All of them are worth checking out – virtually, if not in person!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Hello! It’s a bonkers week here – off yesterday, back today, gone tomorrow, back Thursday and Friday, hopefully. Ergo, it’ll be a mixed bag of links!

Soviets imagined the 21st century much like everyone else – improved transportation, lots of space exploration, and so forth. The monorail on the moon is an especially nice touch.

LowTech Magazine, on the other hand, cautions against too much technological insanity, preferring to combine old and new ways of thinking. For example, consider the Chinese wheelbarrow! 

Explorers have found the skeleton of an ancient shark in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave system. See, anything can be in a cave!

Sheffield City Council asks if you would be sure if you were dreaming. (The actual Sheffield City Council denies all knowledge of these flyers. It’s probably an art project. Or maybe that’s just what they want you to think...)

Friday, February 07, 2020

Happy Friday!

From Cassandra: What Pluto is like, and what Venus is like. Let’s hope we find out more!

From Zazoo: Billy Porter’s on Sesame Street! And, of course, some people are upset. 

Via John Scalzi: How do you treat your books? I have done everything except lawful good and chaotic evil…which sort of sums up my attitude toward life, I suppose.

Local alert: The Loveland Frog(man) may have harassed a family near the Loveland Castle! (My hometown was…sort of strange. I think it’s now much more normal.)

Have a safe and spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week – we will be a bit erratic due to some more dental adventuring, but we’ll be around!

Thursday, February 06, 2020