Abandoned Amusement Parks

Head over to How To Be a Retronaut for the slideshow. Tom Waits would be an excellent musical accompaniment (I recommend Mule Variations).


TED Talks: 5 dangerous things for kids

This is a great short video from TED Talks (if you don't know about these, you are missing a great resource). Thank God my kids had a father who did 4 out 5 of these things with them while I cowered in the background (not really, I think I hid my hysteria quite well). He even made an atlatl so they could throw spears even farther. They lit fires, had pocket knives, threw spears, and took apart appliances of all kinds.


"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then--to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you. Look at what a lot of things there are to learn--pure science, the only purity there is. You can learn astronomy in a lifetime, natural history in three, literature in six. And then, after you have exhausted a milliard lifetimes in biology and medicine and theocriticism and geography and history and economics--why, you can start to make a cartwheel out of the appropriate wood, or spend fifty years learning to begin to learn to beat your adversary at fencing. After that you can start again on mathematics, until it is time to learn to plough."

~T.H. White, The Once and Future King

(photo by Nick Brandt via Bliss)


Long (17 pages) but fascinating article about the convoluted world of art authentication and forgery in the New Yorker. (This gets as crazy as any art theft mystery novel.)

La Bella Principessa, artist and date unknown. Some have attributed it to da Vinci, but this is a controversial finding.


Lost Things

Lovely stop-motion short film. Interesting back story, some of the production was organized through etsy.com. You can read about it here. (The music is "Sleepwaking" by A Fine Frenzy.)


Some gorgeous images from 2 artists I admire, Susan Jamison and Irene Hardwicke Olivieri. While the subject matter and images are on the same wavelength (the body, our relationship to love/nature/the animal world) the execution is very different. Jamison works in a very delicate but realistic style, primarily with egg tempera on panel. Olivieri works with oil on wood, often on recycled pieces of furniture or found wood, in a slightly looser style that evokes folk art. I love their work!

Susan Jamison:

Trust in Me, 2007

Court Me Bouquet, 2005

Irene Hardwicke Olivieri:
Fig, Pomegranate, Persimmon, 1999

Little House in My Heart, 2005

See more of Susan Jamison's work here, and Irene Hardwicke Olivieri here.


Jean Cocteau's House

Poet/surrealist/filmmaker Jean Cocteau's country retreat at Milly-la-Forêt opened to the public last month as a museum. (Via Habitually Chic)

The house in 1961.

Cocteau's desk, restored (photo by Erica Lennard)  

Cocteau in 1947.

Images from Cocteau's film "Beauty and the Beast"


Chimp Cam

From National Geographic, this is especially fun to watch:

link here


Rescue the Hitchcock 9

From the British Film Institute:  the nine surviving silent Hitchcock films are in urgent need of restoration.

Alfred Hitchcock, apprentice, on the set of "The Mountain Eagle" in 1926 (via the Guardian)


Brontë Sisters Power Dolls

Hilarious fake commercial made in 1998. Probably the only dolls my daughter would have played with after age 6 or 7. (Thanks to Fran for finding this!)


Michele Oka Doner

Michele Oka Doner is a Miami-born artist residing in New York City. The underlying theme of her work is nature, spirituality, and human connectedness. One thing I admire is her versatility: she makes sculpture, jewelry, prints and functional objects, and works in a variety of media.  I'll let the work speak for itself:

Root System, 2002–2003. Bronze, 69 x 116 x 77 inches. Photo; Courtesy: Doner Studio.

Death Masks, 1967. Ceramic, 6x6x3 in. Photo link here.

Detail, Globe, 2009. Cast bronze embedded in terrazzo, 8x8 ft. Link

Cast bronze sculptures, 2002-2003. Link

Michele Oka Doner
More info can be found here.