September 22, 2012


seen on the awesomely named It's Okay To Be Smart via Jad Abumrad's Twitter

an x-ray of a sting ray; all that intricate stuff is cartilage. how beautiful is this??? if i had a fancy loft with white walls, i would want a big print of this in the dining room.

September 21, 2012

I love my mayor, part one million.

mismatched socks at the DNC. i mean, come on. 

Pig rescues baby goat

some pig! which is a lot more than i can say for the human who just sat there filming...

September 20, 2012

The Blue People of Troublesome Creek

"They looked like anybody else, 'cept they had the blue color," Stacy says, sitting in a chair in his plaid flannel shirt and suspenders, next to a cardboard box where a small black piglet, kept as a pet, is squealing for his bottle. "I couldn't tell you what caused it." source

you learn something new everyday. this morning i came across an article about globalization potentially leading to ethnic homogenization that began with a story about Martin Fugate and his descendants in Kentucky. they had a disorder that made their skin blue. yes, blue.

Fugate and family- obviously a b&w photo that was hand-colored (source)
Fugate was a French immigrant who settled in the Kentucky hills in the early 19th century. he and his wife were carriers of a rare condition called Methemoglobinemia, which affects the molecular composition of blood, giving one's skin a blue appearance. their children each had a 1 in 4 chance of acquiring the disorder, and a 1 in 2 chance of becoming an unaffected carrier. due to the times, culture, and isolation of rural Kentucky (as one Fugate put it, "There was no roads"), a fair amount of intermarrying occurred, which created a micro-population of blue people. this enclave lasted well into the 20th century, but when new railroad tracks coincided with coal mining job opportunities down the line, most of the group dispersed and eventually began to mate outside of their community. the condition continues to be carried down through generations and there are a few modern examples. a similar disorder be acquired by ingesting large amounts of various metals, like this guy. it's usually because the metals exist in the water supply or prescribed drugs, but he was purposefully taking silver for preventative health reasons. oops!

photo source
The line of Fugates continues, and a descendant was born with traces of the disorder as late as 1975. the doctors were ready to administer a blood transfusion after the baby boy was born with blue skin, until his grandmother stepped in and explained the condition. his skin eventually faded to a normal color, but for a while his lips and fingernails would turn blue whenever he was cold or angry. it is said that there are still blue people living in the hills of Kentucky, but as no one has seen any, it seems they prefer to be left to themselves.

(has anyone listened to the Radiolab episode about colors? in it, they discover that blue is almost always the last color identified and named by civilizations, due to its rare occurrance in the natural world. i want to email Jad and let him know about this particular example!)

September 18, 2012

Penny Paintings

tiny paintings on pennies by Jacqueline Lou Skaggs. see the rest here, including her artful way of matting and framing them.

September 17, 2012

In The Woods

a friend recommended this one, and it was a great read. i'm slowly warming up to mysteries/whodunits, and this was another good "starter book" for that genre. it's set in Ireland in the early 00's and focuses on the main character- a murder detective with an unsolved tragedy from his past that left 2 of his friends missing, and a new crime that is potentially linked to the old one. i think my favorite part is the setting- descriptions of the Irish towns, little bits of the country's history woven into the plot, etc. apparently it's one in a loose series of cop mysteries by the author. this wasn't a page-turner of a book for me, but i've already got the other 2 books on hold, so that should tell you something.

September 14, 2012

Flying Houses

i love these photos by Laurent Chehere. see the rest of the series on his website.

September 13, 2012

The Book of Drugs

i know very little about Soul Coughing, other than the one or two songs that Matt's cover band would play from time to time. i became a Mike Doughty fan post-Soul Coughing, which- according to this memoir of his- means that i am Mike Doughty's favorite kind of fan.

the book has a pretty linear narrative- beginning with early home life, school, musical beginnings, the entire arc of Soul Coughing, a very detailed account of his life as an addict, and ends with his recovery and blossoming solo career. this book is sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. or more accurately- Sex! DRUGSDRUGSDRUGSDRUGS. rock'n'roll. he's a good writer though, and each segment is an entertaining ride. Soul Coughing fans will be interested to read his take on those years (spoiler alert- they were not good years) and his attempts to distance himself from the band in order to establish as a solo artist. fans of his solo work will be interested to read some of the inspiration behind his songs on Haughty Melodic (spoiler alert- mostly girls, drugs, and a lowercase "g" god). it's the only album of his that i really know, and i love it. here's one of my favorite songs from the album:

September 12, 2012


(no one, not even robots, can resist a good self-portrait.)

have you seen the photos coming back from Mars? MARS!

i'll admit, i was the typical average American who took slight notice of the Curiosity landing last month, and have only paid peripheral attention to the photos coming back. it just got lost amidst all the other news- Olympics, RNC, DNC, etc. but if i stop to think about it (or actually read an article from start to finish) it begins to sink in... we flew an unmanned craft all the way to Mars, landed it successfully, and now it's tooling around, taking photos, streaming music to & from Earth... everything it does is groundbreaking, history making stuff.

speaking of the photos that are coming back, they are amazing. obviously, because they are flying through millions of space miles, but aesthetically they are really moving and emotional. i was scrolling through this slideshow this morning, and the photos totally convey the sense of desolation, exploration, and uncertainty of the mission. they remind me of the early photographs from the 1800's, of frontiersman exploring the West. from an artistic standpoint, i think they're really successful. here are a few that gave me pause (click the photo for larger sizes).

September 11, 2012

Bad Children's Books

file these under "hilarious things you feel bad laughing at." below, some of the tamer selections:

you can see the rest here. and you can blame this find on Kottke.