The Goblin Spider

From the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum:

Noted writer and linguist Lafcadio Hearn’s 1910 English translation of the ancient Japanese ghost tale, The Goblin Spider, transports children of all ages to an exotic world of samurai warriors, haunted temples, and monstrous goblin spiders.
According to the tale, there used to be many goblin spiders in Japan. During the day, they looked just like common spiders—but late at night, they transformed into huge spiders with bulging eyes and menacing pincers. Capable of terrible things, these monstrous arachnids also had the magical power of taking human shape.
Sadly, no credit given for the illustrator.

L' Haunting

Henri le chat, on Halloween.


"Here's the last thing that I'd like to throw out there before we all go 1856 all over for a while..."

Excellent post from Charles P. Pierce:

Here's the last thing that I'd like to throw out there before we all go 1856 all over for a while. This entire campaign has been fought out over the issue of whether or not we are all members of a viable political commonwealth with implicit mutual obligations to act through our government — a self-government that is, or ought to be, the purest creative project of that commonwealth — for the common good, or whether that government is a some sort of alien entity repressing our fundamental entrepreneurial energy. Over the next few days, I believe, we are going to see that argument brought to the sharpest point possible. If you want to see how this event will "impact the election," look to what answer to that question emerges from the storm. It will tell us a lot about the election, and about ourselves.

Read more here.

Hurricane Sandy from Space on Twitpic
Hurricane Sandy from space

Stay safe, everyone.




Just in time for Halloween!

From Mother Jones:
Experiments on mice have shown that it is possible to rejuvenate the brains of old animals by injecting them with blood from the young. [Saul Villeda], who led the work, found that blood from young mice reversed some of the effects of ageing in the older mice..."Do I think that giving young blood could have an effect on a human? I'm thinking more and more that it might," said Villeda.
I was sure this was the plot of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie with Tor Johnson, but I was wrong.

It was Bela Lugosi!



I love me some Margaret and Helen.

I am no longer afraid of Tagg Romney despite my lack of Secret Service protection. Your dad is a dumb ass liar. Bring it on, son. I mean it. Really.
Margaret, I can’t imagine that there are many, but if a woman still plans to vote for Mitt Romney chances are she owns a car elevator. I am sure there are a few exceptions to that rule, and I imagine they will leave a comment here soon enough. I’ll keep their head shots in a binder so we can talk about them later.

In other, more superficial news, I got a haircut. My below-the-shoulder curly locks were whacked to just above the shoulder (4 or 5 inches). I feel positively shorn, and I miss my rather dramatic hair.

The real test will be if anyone else notices. I'm guessing no.

Waiting for this in the mail:

I have been wanting something from Le Bouton for ages. And when this popped up in her etsy shop, dear reader, I caved.

And you know, I think these boots would be just the thing to wear with it. Right now they are all sold out, but I am closet cleaning for the money to buy a pair when they come back in stock next month (fingers crossed).


Oh, and there's also this...

Binders Full of Women!


Hilary Mantel (more about her here), one of my favorite authors, has won (a second!) Man Booker Prize. I'll let my pal Kate the Driveller explain:

historical fiction is one of my favourite genres and one she particularly excels in (my introduction to Mantel was her richly multifocal French Revolution novel, A Place of Greater Safety and Bring up the Bodies shares that completely unpretentious and consummately precise dense prose style)...

This is the sequel to one of my recent favorites:

And there's a nice profile of her in The New Yorker, entitled "The Dead Are Real".


"Window Licking"*

*lèche-vitrine in French (a more poetic term for "window shopping").

Current lusts:
These shoes from etsy. Yes, I know they're summer shoes, but I want them. Black or grey?

Look at this gorgeous cashmere cable sweater. In Cloud. (No, don't look at the price. This is just for fun.)
From the new online boutique Mill Mercantile, found via Lovejoy.

Nice Lab Coat from Black Crane (great designs from a husband-and-wife duo Alexander Yamaguchi and Momoko Suzuki):

And can you "window-lick" an entire blog? I am confessing to more than a little envy of this woman's blog/life. She's talented, lovely, makes her own very stylish clothes, has 4 (correction: 6!) photogenic children and a beautiful house. Did I mention she is French? It's always a pleasure to discover a thoughtful new blog.


Poverty and "Responsibility"

This is so good:
The poor use up an enormous amount of their mental energy just getting by. They’re not dumber or lazier or more interested in being dependent on the government. They’re just cognitively exhausted...
The thing about not having much money is you have to take much more responsibility for your life. You can’t pay people to watch your kids or clean your house or fix your meals. You can’t necessarily afford a car or a washing machine or a home in a good school district. That’s what money buys you: goods and services that make your life easier. 
And the Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, tries to live on Food Stamp money for a week and kept a Facebook diary about it. He reported feeling "hungry and tired", and after he was running late and didn't have a chance to make breakfast or pack a lunch one day he wrote:
I’m facing a long, hungry day and an even longer night getting dinner on the table, which requires making EVERYTHING from scratch on this budget. It’s only for a week, so I’ve got a decent attitude. If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant.
Every single politician who wants to cut food stamps should be required to do this. Every. Single. One.

Another good piece here.

And because I just can't let the Big Bird Meme (or "Sesame Street vs. Wall Street") go:


The Doe Bay Sessions

"A group of cello-wielding maniacs" - Spacelab Magazine

The Portland Cello Project! Enjoy. (via Hollister Hovey)

The Doe Bay Sessions (2012) - Portland Cello Project from Sound on the Sound on Vimeo.


Happy Birthday, Buster Keaton!

Born October 4th, 1895. Here's a visual valentine to one of the most elegant comedians ever.

Source: flickr.com via LB on Pinterest

A nice essay about Buster Keaton is at the New York Review of Books, here.

Oh great

Mitt Romney at the debate last night (via Laura Clawson at Daily Kos):
I'm sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to—I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.
However, Forbes says (emphasis mine):
For fiscal year 2010, federal funding for PBS through CPB accounted for about 12% of PBS’ revenue. In terms of dollars, that works out to about $300 million. There’s not much wiggle room to be had: the money that actually goes to CPB is split according to a mostly statutory formula. For 2015, Congress has budgeted $445 million for CPB. That’s less than 1% of the budget. Way less. It’s about 1/100th of a 1%.

(I just wanted an excuse to use this picture again.)