November 27, 2012

more internet finds

Ancient graffiti from Pompeii. humanity doesn't change much, apparently.

the skeleton of a WWII carrier pigeon was recently found in England, the coded message still strapped to his ankle. and so far, no one has been able to crack the code.

the wife of one of the few remaining Tuskagee airmen has died. she was also a pilot- the first black female pilot in Alabama. they would meet up in the sky and fly in formation together. it's a lovely article about their life together and their struggles to serve their country amidst the racism of the 20th century.

November 26, 2012

Laid Down & Wiped Away

Gregory Euclide is a local mixed-media artist who got somewhat of a break by creating the cover art for Bon Iver's last album (the one that won the Grammys). it's almost a shame that his most famous piece is represented on such a small scale, because all his works are incredibly intricate. i got to see one of his pieces in the MN State Fair this past year and it was a great experience. 

and i like him even more after coming across this article from the UK about his day job as a teacher. as a way to relieve stress, he would paint intricate masterpieces on his classroom's whiteboard and then wipe them away. his students would then flip out, incredulous that he would destroy his works of art so easily. after seeing how affected they were, he decided to release prints of some his whiteboard paintings, calling the collection Laid Down & Wiped Away. the article has more pictures and a cool "making of" video for the Bon Iver cover, and go check out his website for more of his amazing talent.

November 23, 2012


Field is Antony Gormley's latest sculpture installation- 200,000 tiny clay creatures assembled into one massive population. wherever the exhibit is scheduled next, Gormley works with local people to create the figures. he said, "I wanted to work with people and to make a work about our collective future and our responsibility for it. I wanted the art to look back at us, its makers (and later viewers), as if we were responsible - responsible for the world that it [FIELD] and we were in."

i love this. individually, they are super cute and are reminiscent of your first clay project in grade school. collectively though, they are really powerful and do seem expectant of the viewer.

originally seen here, where there are more pictures. Gormley's website is here.

November 21, 2012

Animal congregations

Jad Abumrad's twitter feed is a wealth of information that i can hardly keep up with. it was there that i came across what is to me, one of the more entertaining pages in all of the Internet.

behold, a list of animals and what you would call a group of them. there's a few most people know, like a murder of crows. but did you know a group of ferrets is called a business? a bunch of cockroaches is (appropriately) called an intrusion. any you've been wondering about? check out the list to see if they're listed.

this is what happens when you Google "a business of ferrets"

November 20, 2012

writing on her skin.

i found this on Kottke a while ago... the artist has a condition that causes her skin to form painless welts when scratched. there's more examples on her website, but these 2 are my favorite.

November 19, 2012

vertebrae keychain

cop on duty at the library, gesturing toward my keys: hey, is that a........ vertebrae?
me: what? oh! yes, yes it is.
cop: that's uh, interesting.
me: it used to have a pelvis too, but it broke off.
cop: ......
what can i say- when you work for a chiropractor ('97-98), you get weird swag.

November 16, 2012

Mystery circles under the sea

a scuba diver recently found these mysterious patterns on the ocean floor, off one of the islands in Japan. no one had ever seen them before.

he enlisted some help from colleagues, who brought their underwater cameras to try and catch the artist at work. and guess who they found? this little guy!

he's a puffer fish, and these amazing installations are part of his mating ritual. females are attracted to the ridges and swim into the center, where they mate and lay the eggs. here's the little guy hard at work!

he also collected shells to decorate the installation, which later would be used as nutrients for the babies. the ridges also protect the eggs from being tossed about by the underwater currents. isn't that amazing? the link has more pictures and explanation. the animal kingdom is so incredible.

November 15, 2012

Cat Cafes

Many customers seemed like the shy, meek, silent type who were in need of a hug or two. Since these sorts don’t have the courage to go up to a cat and play with it themselves, they would read a book and sip coffee while they patiently hoped for a cat to come closer. It broke my heart.

have you heard about this? cafes in Japan populated by dozens of cats. apparently, most Japanese landlords do not allow pets, so these "cat cafes" began opening up around 5 years ago. they're hugely popular with young adults, who mostly live alone, are stressed out, and could use some pet therapy.

all photos by Tomo Kosuga
for years, i have been saying i wished there was a place where i could go and just play with some animals for 15 minutes or so. the company of animals is a huge stress reliever and way cheaper than therapy. i had no idea the Japanese were so far ahead of us... can someone please open some of these in the US?

November 7, 2012

Done and done.

Happy and proud to be a Minnesotan this morning. Obama re-elected with our 10 electoral votes in tow, both amendments defeated, Klobuchar and Ellison still on the job. yet, somehow, the Bachmann crazy train continues to roll...

November 4, 2012

Everybody counts. Everybody matters.

Like many young Americans, 2008 was the first time I voted. It was an exciting time. I remember driving home and seeing people in my neighborhood out in the streets, celebrating and holding up homemade signs and posters. And believe it or not, I am more passionate about my vote in 2012 than I was 4 years ago. I firmly believe in this administration, in their ability and capacity to continue the path of progress they started. But I am even more passionate about another item on my ballot- voting NO on the proposed marriage amendment to our constitution. 

For those of you outside Minnesota, we will vote on whether or not to add an amendment to our state constitution defining marriage as solely being between one man and one woman. 31 other states have already passed similar amendments through their own voting booths; if we defeat our version we will be the first state to do so. There's been a lot of debate, activism, and of course TV commercials on both sides. Many of our elected officials- governor, senators, congressmen- oppose it, and a surprising voice for the Vote No movement emerged in Chris Kluwe, the punter for the MN Vikings. He's wicked smart and has written several op-eds on the issue (he has had a blog on one of our newspaper's websites). His last post lays out the practical reasons why anyone, regardless of how they feel about gay marriage, should vote no on Tuesday. Go read the whole thing, but here are his 4 bullet points:

1. It's an intrusion of government into personal life.
2. It's an attempt to sidestep our political process.
3. Voting yes on this amendment does not protect your right to vote. 
4. Voting no on the amendment won't change a single thing legally in this state.

So, those are the facts that resonate with me. this is how i feel.

My mom is white, and my stepdad is black. (not the folks above, but equally adorable) Once upon a time, it would have been illegal for them to get married. In fact, their state's constitutional ban on interracial marriage wasn't removed until 1998, a scant 2 years before they got married. 

My husband was married once before. He got divorced and then later, got remarried to me. Some individuals believe this is a sin and our marriage is not valid. Now, our marriage has never been endangered, and we have never experienced discrimination based on these particular religious convictions. But still, there are people who believe that my marriage and/or my parents' marriage are wrong. And you better believe that gives me loads of compassion towards those who currently don't have the right to marry.

I have friends & co-workers who are gay. And almost all of them are in long-term, loving, monogamous relationships. They buy houses, pay taxes, have pets and children, work hard at their jobs, take care of their parents. They are exactly like me & Matt, except they have less civil rights than we do.

Here's the deal. It's easy to vote for discrimination when you have never been discriminated against. It's easy to blur the lines of religion and government when you don't know anyone whose lives would be affected by imposing your beliefs on the entire population. I know this personally- when I was younger and more sheltered, I held some beliefs based on what i thought were moral reasons, not having a clue how they affect real people. But I grew up, moved around the country, and met people who are different than me. Wonderful people who deserve the same rights that most of us take for granted. 

I understand this is a complicated issue with many factors motivating people's decisions, and I totally respect that. This is just my humble explanation of what's motivating me... I believe in the separation of church & state, and I believe in equal rights for everyone. That is why I am voting no.

(today's post title comes courtesy of Rep. Keith Ellison, my congressman and a strong voice against the amendment.)

November 1, 2012

Little Free Libraries

all pics from their site
i've seen a few of these on my run from my house to the Mississippi River, and i finally remembered to look them up once i got home. turns out they are a non-profit from Wisconsin that's seeped over into Minnesota. no clear-cut mission statement or anything... looks like they just want to spread reading & community spirit. sounds good to me! keep en eye out for Little Free Libraries in your neighborhood... or sign up to have one of your own.