In a hyperbolic article of excess, we learn of the most hideous plant in existence. It lives for millenia, has just a couple leaves (which can be dozens of yards long), and lives off sea mist. I wouldn't call it the ugliest plant ever -- it's not like is smells of feces or leaves a sticky mess on anything that touches it. It's just, well, un-plant-like, except in the whole leaves-and-roots thing. Believed to be a relic of dinosaur times, it's becoming extinct...and, of course, nobody cares about endagered ugly things.
A used book store owner in Missouri found his warehouse to be too full -- so many books, not enough customers. So, in the interest of goodwill, offered his books to Goodwill, other thrift shops, and libraries...and was turned down at all corners. Book sales slumping, "five TVs and three books" rummage sales, declining readership, and can't even give them away to a good cause? Burn them -- burn all 20,000. Book lovers (like myself) gasp in horror, but one book-lover makes a good point: "...not reading a book is as good as burning it."
What do I do on my day off? Spend it all at the scanner. Because I don't do enough of that at my day job. Anyways, two largish projects, still in progress. First we have Maps -- cuz, well, I like maps. Lots of info in a simple format. After that, we have a bunch of large format negatives I got at an auction. The photos are all of farm life in the 1930s, in northern Clay county, MN. There's a few hundred negatives - I've got just over a hundred scanned so far.
The US Government is cracking down on access to library materials -- however, it's not the FBI or any vice squad...it's the Border Patrol. The Haskell Library sits on the border between the US and Canada, between Derby Line, VT and Sanstead Quebec, and has otherwise been immune from most border issues. Concerns have been raised recently about the surrounding area's international security, so people walking down the street had better check in with customs before getting too far, lest they be in some serious trouble.
Not everybody gets a blue moon this month. Officially, the western hemisphere gets a full moon on May 31st...but due to time zones and orbit, the full moon won't rise in the eastern hemisphere until the next day, June 1st. Don't worry, though -- that gives the eastern hemisphere a blue moon on June 30th.
Scientists have discovered wooden lightning bolts - over 13,000 feet above sea level, at the bottom of a volcanic lake. They are believed to be used in an ancient Aztec ritual (as described by europeans, newly to the area) for summoning rain from the skies.
Ah, good old home blog: I had moved to MySpace with the longer posts, because I felt there was more opportunity to be read there, and since it's not my 'real' blog I felt I could spew a little more. In the end, I didn't spew much, got only a handful of readers (who stopped giving me kudos several posts ago), so I'll return here. The problem is MySpace isn't about doing anything for MySelf -- it's about me posting on YourSelf's profile, befriending lots of OtherSelfs, and paying attention to EverybodySelves by posting a picture in their profile of a cat saying "I HAS A FLAVOR". Ah, internet: where we embody our emotional expressions in engrish cat captions. It's like sitting at a dinner party, and when it gets quiet for a few seconds someone yells out "I HAS A BUKKET." When people discovered that, after paying attention to me, they recieved none in return, I was ostracized to go sit with the lunch-ladies.
Eh, I guess the internet is where everybody goes to pretend they're still in the 6th grade lunchroom. I've long said grownups are just 10-year-olds who are afraid to be called a 10-year-old in front of their friends, so they act much older. Adults slip up a lot -- petty arguments, random misunderstandings, sitting and staring into space for minutes at a time, making offensive jokes about mentally handicapped people, preferring Doritos to carrots, and so forth. When their slipup is pointed out as childish, they try to defend themselves, or at least mark it in their memory to remember, "don't do that again - they've seen through my ruse!" Me, I'm more advanced than that, I just find a deep ironic humor, reminiscent of Hunter Thompson's iconic Rolling Stone interview with Bill Clinton in 1991, in all LOLCats that makes me giggle like a 10-year-old when I spend hours browsing them on various websites. Nothing juvenile about that, not at all.
So, we went to Wisconsin this weekend -- passing through construction at 11pm isn't so bad, but on the return trip we were greeted, at the same stretch of road, by a blinking sign warning 1-hour delays. We pull off at the next exit, take potty breaks, and ask our TomTom for a new route. That "TomTom" would be the beat-up road atlas that I got from my insurance company for free in 1998 (he just likes to be called that to not feel obsolete). It was far more eloquent than the TomToms and Garmans in the commercials, and infomred me that we weren't very far from Old US 10. So with a hop, skip, and a jump, we changed our plans and decided to go see some new roads. We'd already stopped at several rummage sales, so we hoped to continue our luck. Sadly, it was too late in the day for sales, but we did get to see some cool things, wandering through sleepy downtowns and church graveyards. The biggest discoveries, however, were in the transportation category: we got excellent gas mileage by going only 60, our road-time was about the same, and getting out and stretching our legs helped our attitude a whole bunch. I'm going to dig out an old atlas of mine, pre-Interstate, scan it and put it up at Infomercantile as alternate long-distance routes for enjoyment and energy conservation. Those fuel taxes that make our pocketbooks feel so empty are doing their work at the local level: the highways we were on were better quality than the interstate roads. Leave the interstate to commercial vehicles, go see those sleepy little towns that were injured by the Interstate but rebounded by repurposing themselves as places to stay rather than pass through.
Yes, this does have us worried a bit: In California, a collector of books, magazines, record albums, and ephemera was caught in the uncontrollable blaze fed by his hobby's flamability. You know who else has a house full of books, magazines, records, and ephemera? That's us. It's not like we have close-calls with firey things....um....well, we also don't run a portable generator indoors, either.
Several years ago, I dreamt about discovering a mysterious staircase in my apartment, leading to a second floor, behind what I thought was a closet door. Kottke mentions that his wife has dreamt of a 'hidden room' in their apartment; turns out -- such dreams are very common.
Michael Ching is visiting the Fargo-Moorhead Opera for production of his Lewis-and-Clark epic opera, Corps of Discovery, a work commissioned by Mizzou and transplanted to Fargo. More notable: Ching is blogging his experience here in Fargo. The show opens tomorrow night.
The Blookers have been announced; each is a very worthy recipient, and it was far less a sycophantic buddy-buddy-award than I had thought (worried) it might be. SubDiva's book was in the running; she was eliminated before the final short-list, and of course I think it should have won, but we were pleased that it got notice at all.
I had to laugh out loud -- I completely forgot I posed for these pictures. Go have a look, and wonder what that monkey must've said to me.
I have to say, this is why I am no conniseur of fine quisine. L'Enclume serves artistically creative food, none of which sounds the least bit appetizing to me. It's not direct aversion, like hating crab or horseradish or anything. It's that the products on their menu are so useless, so without purpose, and so complex in their varying attempts to be Amazing, that it removes all of what makes food Food. Amazing food isn't an unforseen combination of juxtaposing flavors and consistencies; it's that meal that appeals to the base human instinct of satisfying hunger. It may not sound like much, but think about the last time you ate anything -- even Burger King -- that was so enormously satisfying that those deep, animal instincts felt really, really good, versus what you had for lunch yesterday. That's what a restaurant should strive to provide in their menu.
Little known fact: a Fargo is a "part draft horse, part American saddle-bred, part American quarter horse" hybrid, according to a LA Times article. And knowing is half the battle!
New at the Infomercantile: a page about the Fargoan (with a mirror of my article on it and downtown revitalization), and the West Fargo Armour meat-packing plant wastewater treatment photos, circa 1938, an extremely ambitious scanning project. If Armour goes well, I'll break out the hundreds of black-and-white negatives from the 1920s I got at the same auction as the Armour pics.
We tend to attract strays, since our dog-pee-scented yard lets them know somebody gets fed around our house, which we tolerate, for the most part. We usually get to know the pets from the white-trash house on 7th avenue (the one that used to have a Nazi flag as drapes), who then get a ride to the pound, a vet check-up, and a square meal before a ride home (after their owner ponies up a fine). If we were a bit more artistically cruel, we could mark the strays for easy identification, like this unlucky puppy. On one hand, it can't be comfortable to have their fur glued down until it grows out, but it beats being put down at the pound (or even shot; I've heard of people owning a .22 in town for plinking rabbits and other pests) and it draws attention to the owners, the ones who let the problem happen in the first place, when the pet finds their way home. Maybe orange is the best color; not only will it draw attention (like abandoned Detroit homes), but make them more visible at night.
How's this for irony: Fargo/Moorhead (with some southerly cities thrown in for good measure) has some of the cleanest air for an industrial metropolitan area, according to the American Lung Association. Well, that is, until they catch a whiff of the skunky smell eminating from the entire region right now. Authorities tell us it is non-harmful. Not that I'd know; I have practically no sense of smell. The bliss of the ignorant, it seems.