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

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Here’s a headline I can support: “Russian priests should stop blessing nukes.” I mean, come on. 

Meanwhile, Nyx Cosmetics is coming out with a whole line based on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Goth power!

Speaking of, sort of, Louis Vuitton’s new fall promo campaign takes the angle of pulp novel covers. There are some fun ones.

Alaskan ghost towns can be pretty eerie. Here’s a photo essay on Kennecott Mines, which is preserved in time.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

I am delighted that BLDGBLOG is back, for many reasons, but the latest is this post, which accurately sums up my current attitude to the state of the world. 

Behold, the first issue of Rituals and Declarations is out, and looks fascinating. A bit more information is available here. 

Did you know Ian McKellen kept a journal of sorts during his LOTR days? It’s true!

Monday, February 03, 2020

Hello and happy Monday.

From Bunny: The groundhog saw its Jungian shadow and is predicting an everlasting winter of the soul. It happens.

The Internet Archive has what looks like the whole run of Weird Tales (1923-1954, at least). Go and explore!

Bruce Goff was an American architect who created truly amazing residences, and he’s only now getting some recognition.

Slightly related: Our love of modern ruins.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Happy Friday! And happy(?) Brexit day, if you’re interested in such things. The BBC has a liveblog going on to observe the event. 

News alert: Be on the lookout for “a large boulder the size of a small boulder” in the road. My favorite comment: “Look at the sizes of that thing!”

From Zazoo: No, the coronavirus is not connected to Corona beer. (Hee.)

For Zazoo and Satori: A bodhisattva cat, who lives at a Buddhist temple and won’t eat meat. Maybe reincarnation is real after all!

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

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Hello! Today’s a bit of a catching-up day.

In archaeology news, an ancient Mayan palace has been discovered. In spookier news, here’s the grave of a vampire. Really! (Well, those who buried the person thought they might be a vampire, at least.)

In modern-day unnerving news, you can watch a constantly-updated dashboard of coronavirus cases worldwide from Johns Hopkins University. (Found via Reddit’s coronavirus megathread, which links to some good sources.)

For fictional horror, check out Sublime Horror for some excellent reading material.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Hi there. Unexpected day off today (more dental fun in the family). Back tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Who really killed Jimmy Hoffa? It’s still a topic of discussion.

Creating an alternate identity on Twitter can lead to all sorts of self-discoveries. 

The Library Time Machine has a wonderful post on paintings, houses of mystery, library findings, and so much more.

From the Public Domain Review: Behold Francois de Nome’s ruins of imaginary places!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Hello and happy Monday!

I just finished a book about the Cartier family and jewelry business, and it was fascinating, both from artsy and genealogical perspectives.

Why do we love how-to videos? Well, there’s a plethora of reasons.

The Chapel of Sound, currently being constructed in Beijing, is an amazing structure which looks like layered rock.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Hooray for Friday!

From Holly: “Here's some comic relief that looks suspiciously a lot like stuff we'd do on a mix tape.” It’s true! It’s every episode of the Muppet Show…distilled down to one second each. Brilliant.

From Zazoo: The documentary on Michael Hutchence is finally out, and looks great.

From Bunny: “Here's a link for Folderol for ya :You can now explore every MoMA exhibit since 1929 online.”

From Cassandra: Resistance is futile! 

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

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Most of you know the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. But now, Berkeley has an exhibit showing the Six Degrees of Mark Twain! 

Interacting with a corporate chatbot can be…frustrating. Apparently this bot’s days are numbered. 

Speaking of numbers...The Numbers is a website all about movies. One neat feature is this ever-updating release schedule for the year and beyond!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Freethought Trail is a very cool website which tracks the various social reform movements in New York during the 1840s and 1850s. There were a lot of different groups, ranging from the wacky to the profound, and this is a great way to learn about them.

Looking for the right word in one or more European languages? Try this handy European translator! (Found via Strange Maps.)

Have you ever heard voices? Good news, you’re not going mad. Probably, anyway. (I’ve heard my name called once or twice. It’s disorienting, to say the least.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Friday, January 17, 2020

Happy Friday!

The Women’s March is tomorrow, with hundreds of “sister marches” happening worldwide. The organization behind the march has had some issues, but they’re trying to regain their footing.

On the heels of yesterday’s link to reading challenges, my hometown library is having a Winter Checkout Challenge! Even if you’re not local, you can peruse the challenge list and make up your own if you like.

From Cassandra: First generation university students are more likely to experience imposter syndrome. Makes sense.

Also from Cassandra: What did Cincinnatians of the past predict for the Cincinnati of the future? Some weren’t that far off!

Have a safe and spiffy long weekend, everyone. We’re taking Monday off and will be back next week.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

If you’re looking for a reading challenge in the new year, fear not – here are oodles of them! Pick one (or more) and have fun.

I am not a William Faulkner fan, but I do love a line he wrote in Requiem for a Nun: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." With that in mind, check out Earth in the Past for amazing photos of everyday life, and read this story about artwork from the Holocaust’s “lost girls.”

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Hello! This is me, as designed by Bunny via HeroForge. You can make your own customized miniatures there, and there’s currently a Kickstarter to make them in color, even. (This is indeed pretty much me, all about books and small animals and long skirts.)

In other customized creations, why not create your own fully operational Death Star display shelf? 

You can also own your own Tillinghast Device, although I wouldn’t really recommend it for sanity purposes.

Behold, all the world’s music charts! Well, most of them, anyway. I looked at the biggest songs of the year in recent history and concluded that I apparently stopped paying attention to popular music in 2002, because the songs after that are mostly mysteries to me.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I just started reading Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series (excellent for steampunk library types!), and the real-life scandal about the Oxyrhynchus collection at Oxford sounds like it’s straight out of one of the books.

Meanwhile, near my hometown, there’s a real-life treasure hunt for gold-filled chests! 

Remember those stories a few years ago about a mysterious hum? The good news is that the answer’s been found. The bad news is that it’s a new volcano.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Apparently, the new year is going to be extremely busy…or at least January is going to be busy. In the meantime, however, here’s a lovely deep dive on John Williams’s work with the Star Wars films. If you’re a musician, this will be a wonderful walk through leitmotifs and whatnot; if you’re not, it’s a great exploration of how to create a soundtrack.

Via Warren Ellis: Divisionism, an overlooked offshoot of Impressionism. It’s…awfully light-colored for my taste, but I like the general concept.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Happy Friday!

Elizabeth Wurtzel died earlier this week. Her last year was a tough one, and her description of what she went through has been published. Whether you loved or hated her, there’s no denying the gorgeousness of her writing.

From Cassandra: The story of a Scottish woman who doesn’t feel physical or emotional pain due to a genetic quirk. Wow. Can you imagine?

From Zazoo: “Janelle Monae is the host of a new Netflix TV series called Sex Explained! And her upcoming movie Antebellum looks good too.”

At CES this week, Toyota unveiled plans for a City of the Future. Woven City reminds me of the earliest EPCOT plans.

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

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Hello and welcome to another crazy day. Stay safe out there, everyone.

Via Propnomicon: Some amazing history of medical containers, courtesy of the Pirate Surgeon’s website, which may suck you in for hours if you’re not careful!

In other news, consider the magic hat throughout history.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The holiday season may be over, but the 2019 Advent Calendar of Curiosities is still online, and the previous years are as well! Go and be informed about strange happenings throughout history, among other fascinating tidbits.

The NY Times has an interactive feature showing how the city’s subway was designed. It’s very well done – just keep clicking the arrow on the right and go on a ride through the town.

Bellingcat puts reverse images search engines to the test and compares the results. Also from this post, I discovered Flag ID, a great site for figuring out which country has which flag.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Hello and happy Monday!

Here are some mindblowing facts for you, courtesy of Reddit. Among the facts: redheads feel more pain. I am going to consult with my redheaded spouse on this.

Buried Treasure finds wonderful indie games, and reminded me that my Conceptis account is still active!

Shoegaze is alive and well, evidently; enough so that there’s a best-of list for 2019.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Hello and happy Friday!

Once again, it’s time for the annual Moby Dick Marathon. It’s true! It starts today, so get thee to the whaling museum.

Sabaton brings history to life via power metal. As Schoolhouse Rock could tell you, it’s easier to learn with music!

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

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Hello and Happy New Year!

The new year brings a treasure trove for T.S. Eliot researchers – his letters to Emily Hale can finally be opened, fifty years after her death. 

The Mandalorian’s first season is over (and was really good), but did you know the man behind the armor for much of the series was the grandson of John Wayne? 

Why so many bird mummies? A hatchery theory is pondered (and eventually discarded), thanks to avian DNA. 

Lorenz Stoer is not famous like M.C. Escher, but his geometric art is just as wild (and much more colorful).