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).