Have nothing in your house...

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

—William Morris

Cubs and Abysses

Two images I came across today that seemed related.

Left: A child with lion cubs in the 1850s.
Right: Artist's conception of a newly discovered black hole 10 times the width of our solar system.
"Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers."

— Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

View from the Space Station

Apparently I'm on a space kick. Watch this fullscreen in HD mode and float down the coast from Oregon to Antarctica. The bay area is visible about six seconds in which should help you orient yourself. The lightning storms are particularly cool:

F. Scott Fitzgerald — On Booze

from Selections from the Notebooks
Yes mam, if necessary. Look here, You take a girl and she goes into some café where she's got no business to go. Well, then, her escort gets a little too much to drink an' he goes to sleep an' then some fella comes up and says, 'Hello, sweet mamma,' or whatever one of those mashers says up here. What does she do? She can't scream on account of no real lady will scream nowadays—no—she just reaches down in her pocket and slips her fingers into a pair of Powell's defensive brass-knuckles, debutante's size, executes what I call the Society Hook, and Wham! that big fella's on his way to the cellar.
You can order it in four sizes: demi (half a litre), distingué (one litre), formidable (three litres), and catastrophe (five litres).
Drunk at 20, wrecked at 30, dead at 40.
Drunk at 21, human at 31, dead at 51.
Then I was drunk for many years, and then I died.

from The Crack-Up (1936)
Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation—the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
This led me to the idea that the ones who had survived had made some sort of clean break. This is a big word and is no parallel to a jail-break when one is probably headed for a new jail or will be forced back to the old one. The famous "Escape" or "run away from it all" is an excursion in a trap even if the trap includes the south seas, which are only for those who want to paint them or sail them. A clean break is something you cannot come back from; that is irretrievable because it makes the past cease to exist. So, since I could no longer fulfill the obligations that life had set for me or that I had set for myself, why not slay the empty shell who had been posturing at it for four years? I must continue to be a writer because that was my only way of life, but I would cease any attempts to be a person—to be kind, just or generous.

from "Show Mr. and Mrs. F. To Number—" (1934)
We got out as soon as we could because we had been there so many times before—it is sadder to find the past again and find it inadequate to the present than it is to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory.

from My Lost City
From the ruins, lonely and inexplicable as the sphinx, rose the Empire State Building and, just as it had been a tradition of mine to climb up to the Plaza Roof to take leave of the beautiful city, extending as far as eyes could reach, so now I went to thereof of the last and most magnificent of towers. Then I understood—everything was explained: I had discovered the crowning error of the city, its Pandora's box. Full of vaunting pride the New Yorker had climbed here and seen with dismay what he had never suspected, that the city was not the endless succession of canyons that he had supposed but that it had limits—from the tallest structure he saw for the first time that it faded out into the country on all sides, into an expanse of green and blue that alone was limitless. And with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe, the whole shining edifice that he had reared in his imagination came crashing to the ground. That was the rash gift of Alfred W. Smith to the citizens of New York.

Previously by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

Look At That

"You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a bitch.'"

Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 Astronaut

Voynich Manuscript

Delighted to discover that the complete Voynich Manuscript is now available on the Wikimedia Commons. The wikipedia article makes for a fascinating read on "the World's Most Mysterious Manuscript." To be incredibly brief, this possibly medieval book is in a script and language that has never been seen before nor translated yet cryptographers assert that it displays patterns that make them believe it has meaning and is not simply gibberish. Added to the mystery are a series of illustrations of plants not known to exist. My favorite theory is that it is a report by an alchemist of conversations he'd had with angels, written in their own language. Here are some of my favorite pages:

Post-Apocalyptic Screen Grabs #10
Vanishing on 7th Street
Cause: The "Shadows"

Dumb movie with a killer soundtrack. The crashing jet reminds me of a story I heard about a malfunction on a plane that suffocated everyone on board but flew on autopilot all the way across the country. For a while I wondered if there was anyone alive on board when I would see planes in the sky.

Black Coward

Michael Ian Black doing a bit of Noël Coward's Private Lives. I adore anything this man does.

Tom Waits the Parent

"The other day, I overheard my older kids talking to my younger boy and they were saying ‘don’t ever, don’t ever ask Dad to help you with your homework.’ They said I made up a war once."

Crewdson's Fireflies

I just discovered Gregory Crewdson's Fireflies series from 1996. It looks like some kind of Victorian spirit photography:

Reminds me of the weirdness that is fireflies flashing in unison in Southeast Asia:

Otherworldy Report

The exhibition Otherworldly at the Museum of Arts and Design was as good as I hoped! Here are some of my favorites:

Frank Kunert's Children!:

Patrick Jacobs' Room with Radiator (you had to view it through a little porthole):

Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz's ominous Traveler series of snowglobes:

Alan Wolfson's Canal St. Cross-Section of which Neil took some great detail shots:

And Mat Collishaw's Garden of Unearthly Delights was terrifying:

Obligatory goofball shots:

This shot reminds me of the first issue of Fantastic Four:

Cary Grant With A Dog

I could start a tumblr on the subject but would prefer not.

University Challenge

When I first saw this in high school I totally missed that the Young One's nemeses are played by Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson!