Friday, July 10, 2020

Venus over Aldebaran

I was trying to find Comet Neowise but there were clouds close to the horizon that blocked it. This is Venus over the orange giant star Aldebaran, from 'Al Dabaran' (الدبران) which means 'the follower' in Arabic, since it seems to follow the Pleiades. The image is not really the discs of either Venus or Aldebaran, just that they are slightly out of focus.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Walking pen nib, Bupreste du tremble (Metallic Wood-boring Beetle), Dicerca sp.

I thought this was a pen nib - when I picked it up the legs began to unfold, but folded back up when I put it down. After a while it started walking about on my desk. Ruler in inches.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Two baby red squirrels emerge from nest

I didn't put the crabapple there - maybe their parents had cached it there - they were in a hole in this tree.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

No, that's not a 17th century poisoner's book

This book, which was hollowed out and contained several tiny drawers and a glass bottle, was presented as a "Medieval" poison cabinet, "bound around the year 1600" and an "Assassin’s arsenal" in places around the web - the writers of these articles failed to notice that the auction house that was selling it listed it as a " Historism, 17th-century style.", which in Germany means something that is a reproduction meant to look like something made in a past age. The date that the artifact was made was not estimated, but the art movement that produced historisms flourished in the late 19th and early 20th century. Parts of the artwork could be older, like the engraving that was pasted on the inside cover, but the final product was finished much later.

(Image via Imgur)


And here is a listing for a similar book that looks like it was made by the same artist, that dates it to the 19th Century:


and another similar one sold by Hermann Historica

The artist is making an untranslatable joke here - these are called Giftschränkchen - 'little poison cabinet' - literally a poison cabinet is a place where medicines that could be dangerous were kept, but a Giftschrank is also a place in a library where books that were restricted circulation were kept - after the war these could include Nazi literature like Mein Kampf. So it's a book that's a poison cabinet that should be in a poison cabinet!
There is an anachronism in the piece that shows it wasn't made in the 17th century - I'll leave it to the reader to find it!

Clown confidential

Traditional whiteface clowns do not put paint on the upper lip. I just learned from a former clown from Ringling Bros. that the Ronald McDonald style of painting both lips in is called a 'BA', a busted asshole. I wasn't scared of clowns before, but I am now.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Compton Tortoiseshell

Compton tortoiseshell, Nymphalis vaualbum, Vanesse du peuplier - overwinters in Canada. Flying around looking for food.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura - the sunlight shining through a small hole in my blind projected an image of the branches of a maple with flowers on the door.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

NEW MODEL ARMY - I Love The World

Seems appropriate for this time.






Coronavirus - all the toilet paper and hand sanitizers are gone from the shops.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Sarah Bernhardt

I met someone who said he appeared onstage with her during World War I. She was the Goddess of Victory and there were four soldiers, English, American, French and the Canadian, who I met, who carried her out on their shoulders on a chaise sedan.  He said she had a really clear voice even at her age, and when they were going on stage the Frenchman said to him "Tu sais mon vieux, elle a une jambe de bois - tu peux me croire - je l'ai senti!" - "You know, old man, she's got a wooden leg - you can believe me, I've felt it!"
He'd told me a few other stories, which I can't verify - He said he worked as a dresser on the 1926 production of Mae West's Sex. He said they just left an empty stage with the lights on for a few minutes when the couple left the stage to go have sex, so the audience would imagine it, rather than going straight to intermission.
Sarah Bernhardt in 1864; age 20, by photographer Félix Nadar