Wednesday, November 30, 2011


According to Wikipedia, stabilimenta are silk structures spun at the middle of some orb-web spiders' webs. Their purpose isn't entirely clear, and it probably varies from species to species. Some spiders may use this decoration to attract prey. Others, to repel predators. Stabilimenta are made of many types of material, including egg sacs and random detritus. Perhaps most interestingly, these designs seem to have evolved separately within 9 different spider species. Also, they look trippy as hell.

The Diary of Leonardo Da Vinci

Da Vinci never left the house without a tiny black notebook (among other things he was apparently the inventor of the Moleskin as well). He hung it from his belt and whenever something caught his eye or tickled his brain, he'd scribble it in this book. Wendy McNaughton has translated a sample page. How casually he proposes to draw Milan! More here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Carving

From Samuel Orchart Beeton's Etiquette for Families (1876):
A great deal of the comfort and satisfaction of a good dinner depends upon the carving. Awkward carving is enough to spoil the appetite of a refined and sensitive person. No matter how well the meats may be cooked, if they are mutilated, torn and hacked to pieces, or even cut awkwardly, one half of their relish is destroyed by the carver. Formerly in England there were regular teachers of the art of carving and Lady Mary Wortley Montague confesses that she once took lessons of such a professor three times a week. Besides the annoyance and mortification of bad carving it is a very extravagant piece of ignorance, as it causes a great waste of meats. In the seventeenth century carving was a science that carried with it as much pedantry as the business of school-teaching does in the present day; and fr a person to use wrong terms in relation to carving was an unpardonable affront to etiquette. Carving all kinds of small birds was called, to thy them; a quail, to wing it; a pheasant, to allay it; a duck, to rembrace it; a hen, to spoil her; a goose, to tare her, and a list of similar technicalities too long and too ridiculous to repeat.
  • allay a pheasant
  • barb a lobster
  • break a hare
  • chine a salmon
  • culpon a trout
  • disfigure a peacock
  • dismember a hen
  • display a quail
  • fin a chevin
  • fract a chicken
  • frush a chub
  • gobbet a trout
  • lift a swan
  • mince a plover
  • rear a goose
  • sauce a capon
  • scull a tench
  • side a haddock
  • splat a pike
  • splay a bream
  • spoil a hen
  • string a lamprey
  • tarne a crab
  • thigh a pigeon
  • thigh a woodcock
  • transon an eel
  • trench a sturgeon
  • tusk a barbel
  • unbrace a mallard
  • unjoint a bittern
  • unlace a coney
  • unlatch a curlew
  • wing a partridge
You're welcome. (carving terms via)

turkey trot

little eva 4eva.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Benjamin Franklin and The Case for Turkeys

From a letter to his daughter (1784):
For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country...

I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.
Other symbols Franklin suggested for his fledgling country: the rattlesnake, Moses and Pharaoh

fowl play

young turks
her ax to grind

feast your eyes on this butterball
feathers versus fur

about to go ham
howdy pardoner

plucky thing

turkey in the straw

by the Original Schnickelfritz Band (1942)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful, that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art
-Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Home Chronicles

From the Wikipedia article on silva rerum:
In historical Poland it was written by members of the szlachta (Polish nobility) as a diary or memoir for the entire family, recording family traditions, among other matters; they were not intended for a wider audience of printing (although there were a few exceptions); some were also lent to friends of the family, who were allowed to add their comments to them. It was added to by many generations, and contained various information: diary-type entires on current events, memoirs, letters, political speeches, copies of legal documents, gossips, jokes and anecdotes, financial documents, economic information (price of grain, etc.), philosophical musings, poems, genealogical trees, advice (agricultural, medical, moral) for the descendants and others - the wealth of information in silva is staggering, they contain anything that their authors wished to record for future generations)
--Once, my rommates and I started a sort of intragenerational silva. It traveled the world with us for about a year before fizzling out. How illuminating it would be to read now. What a perfect time capsule of our brains working together for that year, thinking of each other, trying to provoke each other to laugh or ponder or create.

Spin-off diary ideas:
Couples' diary (a la the Hawthornes)
Family cookbook
Commonplace book (a la Lovecraft)


Friday, November 11, 2011

the 11/11/11 party mix of your hopes and dreams

212 - Azealia Banks

Crash Dummy - Kidz in the Hall feat. Killa Kyleon

Cold as Ice - CyHi da Prince (luv u2 mz. jones)

Posted -Pac Div

Awesome Awesome - Buddy

I'm Flexin - T.I. feat. Big K.R.I.T.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

get me bodied: rapa nui edition

the easter island statues are more mounmental than you thought. literally. apparently the world's most iconic non-talking heads were originally built with bodies, which have since sunk into the ground (tsunami? earthquake? erosion? other?). the easter island statue project (EISP) aims to unearth these buried parts and reunite them with their faces.

bonus fact: EISP staffs its conservation teams almost entirely with Rapa Nui locals. now that's what i call socially sustainable.

the drum set

catch me at ho etsu taiko, bringing that chicago swagger, every weekend from now til infinity.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pictures by Francesca Woodman

Been reading up on Francesca Woodman. Her photos have an eerily romantic, almost Gothic quality, juxtaposing light, shadow, female bodies, paper, cloth, and houses that threaten to crumble, to consume. More here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Favorite Leonard Nimoy Story

Once, on meeting Leonard Nimoy and his wife, I was gratified to find literate they are. He advised me on the pronunciation of some words in the expression Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzt (which covers a multitude of sins and means something like: all skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket).
--Heather McHugh

Thursday, November 3, 2011


So long I have been carrying myself
Carefully, carefully, like a small child
With too much water in a real glass
Clasped between two hands, across a space as vast
As living rooms, while gazes watch the waves
That start to rile the little inland sea
And slap against the cliffs' transparency,
Revise and meet, double their amplitude,
Harmonizing doubt from many ifs.
Distant frowns like clouds begin to brood.
Soon there is overbrimming. Soon the child
Looks up to find a face to match the scolding,
And just as he does, the vessel he was holding
Is almost set down safely on the bookshelf.

--A. E. Stallings

Stallings says about Containment: 'I don't want its "sonnetude" to be the first thing to hit the reader, I just want the reader to enter it as a poem. But the sonnet is a form of immense versatility, flexibility and usefulness...very often about either containment or the opposite, the inability to constrain or limit something - this is part of the sonnet's inherent self-referentiality.'

just because you're excited about something doesn't mean you have to end the sentence

and other useful, if obscure, punctuation marks.